[to top of second column]
The International Cycling Union, cycling's governing body, which licensed Armstrong to ride professionally, should have jurisdiction over the allegations. Armstrong says allegations of doping by him and his team that were first raised by admitted drug-user Floyd Landis in 2010 should be addressed by UCI.
USADA may have violated federal law if it coerced witness testimony against him with deals to reduce punishments for riders facing doping charges. Media reports last week said former Armstrong teammates George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde, who are all riding in this year's Tour de France, may be witnesses against him.
In a twist, Armstrong is arguing against rules that his personal manager, Bill Stapleton, helped draft when he was a board member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and served as the chairman of the athletes' advisory council.
Armstrong's representatives have said those rules were written to deal with cases of athletes facing positive drug tests and lab results, not a case like Armstrong's where the evidence is weighted toward anecdotal witness testimony.
Legal experts were divided on the strength of Armstrong's case.
"USADA is a unique agency, far from perfect ... but that doesn't necessarily mean it's unconstitutional," said Michael McCann, director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School. "He makes some good points, but his chances for success are less than likely."
An Armstrong victory in court, however, could shake USADA to its core, said Michael Straubel, law professor and director of the Sports Law Clinic at Valparaiso University.
Straubel, who has represented athletes with doping cases before USADA, called Armstrong's lawsuit a "strong case" for greater protection for athletes.
"This is huge. It has tremendous implications for USADA. I really hope USADA thought all this through before it got things started," Straubel said.
To be successful on his constitutional claims, Armstrong must show that USADA is acting as a government agency. The lawsuit notes that USADA is mostly funded by the federal government and that some of the evidence against him was collected during the federal criminal investigation. On its website, however, USADA calls itself an independent agency.
USADA could ask the court to allow its arbitration process to go ahead, requiring Armstrong to raise his claims after a decision is made. But Armstrong predicts he can't win in a system stacked against him, and says he needs the court to step in now.
Also charged by USADA are former Armstrong team manager Johan Bruyneel and several team doctors and associates. None of them is included in Armstrong's lawsuit, but they could be affected by any legal decision because USADA consolidated their charges with Armstrong's.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor