A U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld a lower court ruling that will force U.S. middle distance runner Regina Jacobs to fight drug charges from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency under the agency's rules.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which ended a 10-month court battle, means Jacobs, a 1,500-meter specialist, will not be able to circumvent USADA's processes and will have to attend by videoconference an American Arbitration Association hearing scheduled for July 18.

The hearing coincides with the date of the 1,500-meter final at the U.S. track and field trials in Sacramento.

Jacobs, a 15-time U.S. champion and three-time Olympian, faces a four-year ban for a positive test last year for the designer steroid THG.

"We are extremely pleased with the Second Circuit decision, which confirms that Ms. Jacobs' lawsuit was baseless," said Travis T. Tygart, USADA's director of legal affairs in a statement. "We maintained from the beginning that this lawsuit was absolutely without merit and now both the Southern District of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit have agreed."

The ruling also means that three other athletes -- twin brothers Calvin and Alvin Harrison and Michelle Collins -- who mounted essentially the same legal challenge as Jacobs -- likely will be denied as well.

Calvin Harrison tested positive for the stimulant modafinil. Alvin Harrison and Collins were charged with violations in connection with the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) scandal.

A hearing for Harrison originally scheduled for Friday was moved to July 26.

"We're studying the opinion to determine the effect if any on any pending petitions," said Edward G. Williams, Jacobs's lawyer who also represents the Harrisons.

Meantime, IOC President Jacques Rogge told the Associated Press that members of the U.S. 4x400-meter relay team would be granted a hearing if track's world governing body, the IAAF, decides it should be disqualified because of a doping offense by Jerome Young.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled last month that Young should have been ineligible for the Sydney Olympics because of a positive test for the steroid nandrolone in 1999.

If the United States is stripped of the victory, Nigeria would be upgraded to gold, Jamaica to silver and the Bahamas to bronze.