The absence of a final agreement on HGH testing has delayed the implementation of a population study. And the total number of players to be included in the population study is about to shrink.
When the tentative deal for a population study first was reached, the league and the union agreed that all players in every camp would give a blood sample for the purposes of determining the naturally-occurring levels of HGH in men who play pro football. With up to 90 players per team, that’s a maximum pool of 2,880 test subjects.
In four days, that amount drops by 15 per team, with a new limit of 2,400.
Four days after that, the size of the pool drops to 53 active players plus up to eight members of the practice squad per team, for a maximum of 1,952.
Thus, by next Saturday, more than 900 potential participants in the population study will be gone.
It’s unclear whether that helps or hurts the players who’ll participate in the population study. If the fringe players are more likely to use HGH, their absence would drive down the detected average HGH reading per player. If, on the other hand, guys who are using HGH are more likely to make the team, the number will be higher.
Regardless, the number necessarily will be based on a smaller pool of players — by more than 32 percent. The fewer the participants in the pool, the less accurate the total number possibly will be.