Growing Doping Scandal May Keep Russia Out of Rio 'Unprecedented level of criminality' By Newser Editors, Newser Staff Posted May 18, 2016 10:02 AM CDT 18 comments Comments Russia's national drug-testing laboratory in Moscow. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File) (Newser) – Allegations of sports doping are so common it's easy for the eyes to glaze over, but a series of recent developments raises the possibility of a jarring reality check: Russia might be barred from the Rio Olympics. Related coverage: A panel from the International Association of Athletics Federations is expected to decide on June 17 whether Russian athletes will be allowed to compete at Rio, reports the Guardian. This follows a report in the New York Times in which the former head of Russia's antidoping agency described a slick state-run operation during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, one that involved switching out urine samples from supposedly tamper-proof bottles. If true, the Sochi allegations are "shocking" and represent an "unprecedented level of criminality," says the head of the International Olympic Committee, per Reuters. And that Times report follows up on similar allegations from the World Anti-Doping Agency back in November. Russia's sports minister apologized for "serious mistakes" by Russian athletes and coaches, though he didn't get into specifics, in the UK's Sunday Times. Even the Justice Department is investigating now, in part because Russian athletes competed in US events, reports the New York Times. Separately, the IOC has opened disciplinary proceedings against 31 unidentified athletes from 12 countries suspected of cheating after a retest of drug samples from the 2008 Beijing Games. They may not be allowed to compete in Rio, either, reports the AP.