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Iditarod

Musher Wade Marrs leads his team in March 2015 during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage, Alaska. Marrs claims the head of the Iditarod's drug testing program, OSU toxicology professor Morrie Craig, threatened to reveal his dogs tested positive for a banned substance. Although Craig denies that claim, the race's directors reprimanded him on Monday.

The organizing body of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has reprimanded Oregon State University toxicology professor Morrie Craig for improper comments to a competitor.

The Iditarod Trail Committee’s board of directors issued a statement Monday afternoon saying that Craig, who has administered the famous Alaska sled dog race’s drug testing program for 25 years, was out of line when he approached musher Wade Marrs just before the start of this year’s race on March 4.

Marrs claims that Craig tried to intimidate him into dropping his support for a fellow musher whose dogs tested positive for a banned substance by threatening to reveal that Marrs’ team had also tested positive after last year’s race.

Craig said he was only trying to warn Marrs that the information was about to be made public by the ITC and to reassure him that the amount of lidocaine found in his dogs’ urine was far below the level of a violation.

Regardless of his intent, the ITC board said Craig should not have been talking to a competitor about test results.

“While there are differing accounts of the exact nature and perceived intent of the conversation, the (board) believes that the conversation was at best ill-timed, and a breach of protocol on Dr. Craig’s part,” the statement reads in part.

It goes on to warn that Craig could face further discipline or termination if he does anything else “deemed detrimental to the success” of the drug-testing program he helped create for the race.

Craig could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

Craig is already facing allegations of bullying and sexual harassment from Oregon State, which initiated termination proceedings against him on Oct. 30 after a faculty committee found those charges to be true.

Craig denies those allegations and is fighting his termination in court.

Marrs was in seventh place in the Iditarod standings as of Monday.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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Special Projects Editor

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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