Cause of death still unknown

ATLANTA --- Georgia Tech's athletic director said Saturday there was no sign of drug use by pitcher Michael Hutts, even though a police report indicated the junior might have taken heroin before his death.


Hutts' roommate and teammate, Ryan Tinkoff, told police Hutts and friends had been drinking before Hutts was visited by a another friend who "was known to use heroin, possibly with Mr. Hutts."

The police report was obtained by Atlanta's WSB-TV.

Athletic director Dan Radakovich, who also has seen the report, said "we really can't tell" if drugs were the cause of Hutts' death on April 11. Toxicology tests are still pending.

Radakovich said there had been no hint of drug use based on Hutts' behavior or random drug tests given to Georgia Tech athletes.

"No, not at all. As we said when it first happened, this was a shock," Radakovich said. "Michael was a good student. He was functioning well as a pitcher on the baseball team. There was really no awareness on anyone's part of any stimulants that would have said 'Hey, we've got a problem.' "

Mark Hutts, the pitcher's father, told The Associated Press he believes Georgia Tech officials did everything possible to guard against drug use.

"This is an unimaginably tough time, unimaginably," Mark Hutts said. "If something comes out of this that can help another kid, that's good, or another adult. But it's not something I'm going to be discussing. I'm not going to elaborate."

The 21-year-old Hutts grew up in Dunwoody, an Atlanta suburb, and graduated from The Wesleyan School in nearby Norcross. He was a management major who was listed on Georgia Tech's dean's list last year.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's office said it will be several weeks before the cause of death is released.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation normally has a private lab study toxicology tests to determine the cause of death. The coroner's office said there was no apparent violent cause of death.

Radakovich said Georgia Tech has "a typical drug-screening process" that screens for several drugs, though he wasn't specific.

"We have a drug education and drug-testing policy in place right now," he said. "We continue to utilize that in a vigorous manner."

Radakovich said the school revised its drug-testing program for the current academic year. All athletes get tested at least once a year, and remaining tests are conducted at random.

"We went and got the best practices from a number of ACC and SEC schools and put it in place this fall from a process standpoint," he said. "We went to all the student-athletes from each individual team at the beginning of the second semester and gave them the drug policy and got them to say they read it and understood it and signed off on it."

The AD wouldn't say if Hutts had been given a random test during the current school year.



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