Recent media and blog coverage, including the February 10, 2009, AdAge.com post “Vitaminwater Runs Afoul of NCAA Banned-Substance Rule,” incorrectly states that student-athletes should not drink six of Vitaminwater’s varieties or they might test positive for banned substances.
In fact, normal daily consumption of any of the 13 Vitaminwater varieties will not place a student-athlete at risk for testing positive for banned substances.
Eight of the varieties, including Revive, the only NCAA-branded variety featured at NCAA Championships, contain no impermissible or banned substances and may be provided by member institutions to student-athletes.
Three Vitaminwater varieties (Power-c, B-relaxed, and Balance) contain ingredients that categorize them as impermissible under NCAA extra benefit rules. As such, schools cannot provide these varieties to student-athletes as a nutritional supplement, but they can be purchased and consumed by student-athletes on their own without any risk to their NCAA eligibility.
Two Vitaminwater varieties, Energy and Rescue, contain an ingredient or ingredients--caffeine and guarana seed extract (a caffeine source)—that are included on the NCAA’s drug-testing list of banned substances. The NCAA places a limit on the amount of caffeine that can be legally found in the urine of a student-athlete. This level was set to allow ordinary consumption of caffeine-containing beverages, such as cola, tea or coffee. Vitaminwater Energy and Vitaminwater Rescue contain low levels of caffeine. To put it in perspective, an average sized healthy man would have to drink ten 20 oz. bottles of Vitaminwater Energy or Rescue within several hours of competition to reach the level that could potentially create a positive NCAA urine test.
The NCAA and Vitaminwater’s parent company, Coca-Cola, have diligently researched issues surrounding student-athlete consumption of these products prior to the October 2008 announcement of Revive being featured on sideline equipment at NCAA championships. At no time has student-athlete eligibility been put at risk for those who choose to drink Revive or any of the other varieties under normal daily consumption standards.
Click here for the October 2008 press release and FAQ.