Now that a federal judge has thrown out Lance Armstrong's lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the cyclist is going to have to think fast about his next move, as the deadline looms for him to challenge doping allegations. "Armstrong now faces a Thursday deadline to decide whether he will fight USADA's charges in arbitration or accept sanctions, including a likely lifetime ban and the stripping of his seven titles in the Tour de France," reports USA Today's Brent Schrotenboer.
Armstrong had sued the USADA, a non-profit organization that has the power to strip athletes of titles but not to convict them criminally, for accusing him of doping. He said it lacked the jurisdiction to charge him, and its process would violate his right to due process. But on Monday, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks threw the suit out, saying Armstrong's rights hadn't been violated because "the USADA arbitration rules, which largely follow those of the American Arbitration Association, are sufficiently robust to satisfy the requirements of due process," according to the Associated Press' Ronald Blum. And while the International Cycling Union (UCI) has also challenged USADA's jurisdiction, Sparks said his own court didn't have jurisdiction to rule on the matter: "Alternatively, even if the court has jurisdiction over Armstrong's remaining claims, the court finds they are best resolved through the well-established system of international arbitration, by those with expertise in the field, rather than by the unilateral edict of a single nation's courts."
So let's look at Armstrong's options: As USA Today's Schrotenboer noted, he can decide to accept the USADA's accusations and lose his titles, or he can enter into arbitration with the organization and fight the accusations directly. If he wants to keep using the courts to avoid engaging with the agency, "Armstrong can try to overturn Sparks' decision by going to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans," AP's Blum notes. In addition, "the cyclist could attempt to challenge USADA proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland," Blum wrote. Whatever he does, he'll have to act fast.