After reading his post, I’m convinced now, too. What appears to have happened is that the players were not sufficiently hydrating themselves and taking too much Creatine (or some other similar muscle-building supplement).
And creatine is safely used by tens of thousands of athletes every year. It's naturally found in meat and fish. So what happened? Here's my theory: they took way too much: the recommended dose is generally a teaspoon per day. So it's not hard to imagine a a dozen guys taking, say, four teaspoons a couple of times per day instead. And a study published in 2000 would tend to align with that theory.
For those who say creatine doesn't work: they're wrong. It does and it can be used safely. Perhaps a dozen years ago, I decided to really get my level of body-fat down. At that time, I used no supplements whatsoever. What I found is that as I lost weight, I also lost a good deal of strength.
At a body weight of 178, which was down 25 pounds in a matter of a couple of months, I could bench press 225 12 times -- that represented a significant and disappointing drop from the time when I carried more weight.
Someone suggested creatine and, after reading plenty of research on MedLine, determined that for short-term use, it appeared relatively safe.
Fact is, creatine is found in meat and fish and is produced naturally in your body as well. I have always tried to lift twice a week and would consume a teaspoon of creatine the day before and the day of each resistance workout. In other words, just four teaspoons a week.
Within a few months, I was able to bench 225 for 21 reps with almost no weight gain (perhaps at 183 lbs.). Creatine makes you feel like a hydraulic machine; much stronger in terms of repetitions (but not maxing out).
Go read the whole post.
Given the likelihood that the players weren’t forced to take the megadoses of the supplement, and that such offseason workouts are strictly voluntary (by NCAA rule), it’s hard to fault the school or staff, here. They bear some responsibility for not managing the players’ dietary intake, and that could be especially sticky for them since, well, they kind of have a substance issue in the Hawkeye program.
But a lot of the misinformation being thrown about—suggesting that Iowa was intentionally drugging their players, forcing them into overly strenuous workouts and generally not caring about the well being of their student athletes is taking things too far.