The NCAA should reinstate Kolton Houston before July 1st – giving him ample time to get ready for Georgia's season opener at Clemson. The Buford native has been put through the ringer when it comes to drug testing at Georgia – a place that is known to be very, very serious about drug testing. He's had elective surgery performed on himself. He's gone through four years of classes; four years of practices; four years of watching games; four years of, whenever any acquaintance sees him, answering questions he doesn't know the answer to.
Kolton Houston has had four years of guts but no glory.
It is ridiculous – and the NCAA knows it.
What is the NCAA scared of?
The mammoth and dysfunctional organization requires drug testing, which is perfectly acceptable considering the amount of doping that goes on in all levels of sports these days. Houston's first random test came back with a nandrolone level way too high – 260 ng/ml.
In other words, the test concluded that Houston took a banned substance.
So he was forced to sit out a year – as he should have been.
No problem, redshirt and move along.
But years later, and with the nandrolone level dropping and Ron Courson hanging over Houston's head with Georgia-administered drug tests, the NCAA still won't back down. Georgia, a program long known for its drug testing shooting its student-athletes in the feet, was fighting back – calling the NCAA's bluff.
The NCAA argued that Houston reused, but Georgia's drug tests of Houston refuted the organization's claim. The NCAA backed down from a lifetime ban for Houston, but said he would never be able to play again if his level was above the NCAA-mandated 2.5 ng/ml limit.
That probably won't ever happen, which means that for Houston the only silver britches he will ever slip on will be for practice.
The NCAA needs to decide if it is truly about student-athletes or if it is exclusively about litigation and by-laws – because often those two things are in conflict with one another even when nothing malicious is happening. The NCAA's enforcement arm doesn't have much credibility right now, and cases like Houston's won't give the organization much credibility in the future when it comes to drug-related matters.
TNCAA president Mark Emmert was so tone deaf that in a correspondence to Greg McGarity he wrote he was "surprised" that Georgia was asking for Houston to be reinstated. That statement alone underscores the organization's need for leadership change and fundamental reorganization and reform.
The NCAA is at a crossroads. The way in which it will survive or fail will have more to do with TV revenue at Georgia than one of its players, but that sort of annoyance won't soon be forgotten.
The NCAA still has "One Shining Moment" here and can get this right, but will it?