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Sports

Bo Schembechler helped kick-start FBI interest in performance-enhancing drugs

Bo Schembechler and Greg Stejskal
Courtesy of Greg Stejskal
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Bo Schembechler and Greg Stejskal

More than 400 Russian Olympic athletes are in danger of being banned from the Rio Summer Olympics.

With just 17 days until the games open, the International Olympic Committee is reviewing its legal options after a stunning report revealed the biggest doping scandal in sports history. Those options could include banning all Russian teams from Rio.

The World Anti-Doping Agency report spells out an elaborate doping scheme run by the Russian government. It says the cheating goes back to the Sochi Olympics and beyond.

It's proof that attitudes toward performance-enhancing drugs have certainly shifted since Greg Stejskal worked for the FBI here in Southeast Michigan.

And, as it turns out, a certain legendary Michigan football coach was ahead of his time when he raised questions that inspired the FBI's first probe into performance enhancing drugs.

Stejskal told us Bo Schembechler called him one day in 1988 and asked to meet.

"Bo just said, 'Hey, can you come over, I want to talk to you,'" Stejskal said. "Generally, if you're invited to see Bo, you go."

"These kids are coming in, and they're not asking us about steroids, whether they should do them, not do them. They're basically saying, when should we start doing steroids?"

Schembechler told Stejskal he was concerned about steroid abuse in sports, and by young athletes in particular. 

"He said the concern is, these kids are coming in, and they're not asking us about steroids, whether they should do them, not do them. They're basically saying, when should we start doing steroids?" Stejskal said.

He told us the FBI wasn't terribly concerned about performance enhancing drugs at the time, but Stejskal managed to get an assistant federal prosecutor out of Detroit to care enough to authorize an undercover operation called "Equine" that eventually resulted in more than 70 convictions and seized more than 10 million dosage units of steroids. 

Stejskal tells us more about the FBI's developing interest in performance enhancing drugs in our conversation above.

GUEST Greg Stejskal is a retired FBI agent.

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