To use or not to use?

That is the question high school activities associations across the country are being asked frequently concerning student-athletes' rights to use creatine and other body-building supplements.The National Federation of State High School Activities Associations has finally taken a position on the heated debate.

Well, the national federation sorta, kinda took a position at least.

The NFHS recently released the following statement:

"School personnel and coaches should not dispense any drug, medication or food supplement except with extreme caution and in accordance with policies developed in consultation with parents, health-care professionals and senior administrative personnel of the school or school district.

"Use of any drug, medication or food supplement in a way not prescribed by the manufacturer should not be authorized or encouraged by school personnel and coaches. Even natural substances in unnatural amounts may have short-term or long-term negative health effects.

"In order to minimize health and safety risks to student-athletes, maintain ethical standards and reduce liability risks, school personnel and coaches should never supply, recommend or permit the use of any drug, medication or food supplement solely for performance-enhancing purposes."

In other words: Be careful what you take.

This statement stands as the Utah High School Activities Association's position on the matter as well.

The UHSAA also discourages the use of the controversial over-the-counter supplement "andro" - technically known as androstenedione - which was recently made infamous by home run king Mark McGwire.

"Our position is that it's promotion-enhancing and we're not in favor of it," said UHSAA assistant director David Wilkey. "We're saying don't use it."

However, it isn't officially banned yet in the Utah code, as controlled substances like alcohol, marijuana and steroids are.

So, to use or not to use? You make the call.

UTAH'S GOT THE RUNNERS: Utah is well-represented in the preseason national cross country rankings. Five Beehive State teams were in the USA Today's Top 25, which is compiled by the Harrier Magazine.

The Mountain View boys are the highest-ranked Utah team at No. 2, while the Bingham and Mountain Crest boys are listed at Nos. 6 and 20, respectively.

Bingham and Mountain View also have ranked girls teams. The Miners are ninth and the Bruins 14th.

If you combined the boys and girls teams, Bingham would be the country's top-ranked program, followed by Mountain View at No. 2. Just one other high school has both its boys and girls programs ranked.