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Players accused of using steroids

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Two Air Force Academy football
players accused of using steroids will be court-martialed, the
military said.

Junior running back Matthew Ward, charged with wrongful use and
possession of the anabolic steroid methandrostenolone, will be
court-martialed Aug. 18, the academy said Thursday.

A date has not been set for the court-martial for junior
linebacker Overton Spence Jr. on charges of wrongful use,
distribution and possession of methandrostenolone.

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr. referred both
cases to courts-martial earlier this week. Both cadets had waived
their right to an Article 32 evidentiary hearing, which is similar
to civilian grand jury sessions.

"After [Rosa] reviewed the evidence in the case and consulted
with the Air Force judge advocate, he decided there was enough
evidence to take the case forward," academy spokesman Lt. Col.
Laurent Fox said.

If convicted, Ward faces 10 years of confinement while Spence
could receive 25 years. Both face dismissal from the Air Force and
forfeiture of pay and allowances.

The school has begun random testing of cadets and some employees
for steroids in what experts say is an unusual step for a college
of any kind. Both players have been suspended from the football
team.

"This is a military justice proceeding, and we'll deal with
whatever the outcome is when it's complete," coach Fisher DeBerry
said. "I hurt for our guys that they are going through this, and
I'm disappointed about it."

Military lawyers representing the cadets did not return phone
calls.

Two other cadets also face steroids charges. An evidence hearing
for Eric Swartz is scheduled for July 28. Rosa is deciding whether
a court-martial is in order for Jonathan Belkowitz.

Earlier this week, senior cadet Shane Thomas was convicted of
wrongful use and possession of ketamine, an anesthetic for humans
and animals. He was also convicted of threatening to hurt a female
cadet if she reported his drug use. He faces dismissal from the Air
Force but no jail time.