It’s been a bit quiet on the 30 for 30′ front. And while fans eagerly await new installments, there haven’t been any announcements or releases this year.

Following last year’s release schedule and those announcements, we’ll likely hear more about ESPN’s 2024 plans as early as next month. But ahead of that, Awful Announcing has learned ESPN does have a finished film titled False Positive that centers around track-and-field athlete Butch Reynolds and his experience of having his career derailed by a false positive drug test.

ESPN has yet to release details on when this will air or any marketing materials, but there is a trailer at the bottom of this post.

Like some other past 30 for 30 installments, we learned of its existence due to its screening in a film festival, in this case, the Cinema Columbus Film Festival (Reynolds is from Ohio, went to Ohio State, and was a speed coach at Ohio State under Jim Tressel). Below are some details from the festival website:

The untold story of the fastest man in the world, Butch Reynolds, whose legendary career was derailed by a faulty drug test in one of the greatest injustices in American sports history.

Monte Carlo, 1990. The world record holder in the 400-meters, Butch Reynolds, takes a routine drug test that comes back positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone. When Butch challenges the results, the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) publicly admits their lab technician mixed up Reynold’s urine specimen with another athlete’s, leading to a “false positive.” In an outrageous about-turn that would lead to one of the greatest injustices in American sports, the IAAF refuses to administer another test, claiming the lab “corrected their mistake.” Instead, they label Reynolds a “dirty athlete,” banning him from competition during the most vital years of his career.

“False Positive” doesn’t have an air date yet, but considering its theme, a summer premiere around the Olympics wouldn’t be surprising. For those who might prefer a different topic, remember ESPN’s 9.79* – arguably a top-10 30 for 30 that tackled a similar subject (positive drug test) and delivered a phenomenal documentary,so there is some history of this subject matter in making an excellent documentary.

The film is directed by Kent State University Africana Studies professor Ismail Al-Amin, and the runtime is now listed as 90 minutes, which would point to airing in a ESPN in a two-hour window with commercials.WOSU, NPR’s local Columbus outlet, initially broke the news of the film’s existence and screening and also walked through how Al-Amin and ESPN got involved with the project.

“I think there was a lot of public speculation that the sport of track and field was just dirty in general,” Al-Amin said. “Honestly, I didn’t really know if Butch was a guilty athlete or not.”

Eventually, he said there was enough “ambiguity… and a lot of inconsistencies” to create “a hell of a story.” Al-Amin was ready to pivot from education to filmmaking, and he contacted his former college roommate, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young. That led to meetings with ESPN. The result is 102 minutes, in which Reynolds hopes viewers get a sense of what he went through.”

Given Reynolds’s unique story and just how engrossing the similarly themed 9.79* was, this certainly seems like one to look forward to.

[False Positive Trailer from 30 for 30 on Vimeo]

About Ben Koo

Owner and editor of @AwfulAnnouncing. Recovering Silicon Valley startup guy. Fan of Buckeyes, A's, dogs, naps, tacos. and the old AOL dialup sounds