The NCAA is arbitrary and capricious. It persecutes who it wills and rewards others. The case of Georgia’s Kolton Houston is the perfect example of how differently players are treated by the organization that is supposed to protect the integrity of college athletics.
The facts of the case are well known and widely reported. According to the Ledger-Enquirer, “When he was in high school, Houston was given injections to treat a shoulder injury. UGA athletic trainer Ron Courson has said the injections were from an ‘unscrupulous’ doctor, whose name is not known. So Houston tested positive for a steroid, Norandrolone, early in his freshman year at Georgia, which resulted in an automatic year-long suspension. The second positive test came prior to his second year at Georgia, which meant a lifetime NCAA suspension.”
On appeal, the NCAA reduced the lifetime ban. Thankfully, Houston can play once his steroid levels drop below NCAA-mandated levels. In an attempt to reach the limits, Houston has undergone medical treatments, but so far, he remains above the NCAA’s limits.
The defense is also widely reported. According to Online Athens, “Georgia maintains Houston was unknowingly given a substance that is banned by the NCAA — the anabolic steroid Norandrolone — after sustaining shoulder injuries playing for Buford High School.”
Also, this quote from Houston via the Ledger-Enquirer, “I’m just trying to argue that I’m not re-using. That I’m not re-using at all,” Houston said. “First of all I didn’t even know that I did use. And I’m surely not re-using.”
It worked for Cam Newton and Auburn.
It isn’t working in this case.
What is good for one player should be good for another. Yet, the NCAA has decided to approach this case of not knowing in a different manner.
For some reason, the NCAA has treated the accidental use of steroids while under medical supervision differently than it approached a father shopping his son for cash.
This makes it easy to figure out the NCAA’s calculus.
However, there surely is more to it than this. Could the NCAA’s treatment be based on the profile of the cases? Cam Newton was a quarterback in the middle of a national championship race. Kolton Houston is a lowly offensive lineman—and we all know linemen often only get their names called when they hold or move before the snap.
Or, is this a case where then NCAA looked so impotent in the Cam Newton case that it is trying desperately to butch up in cases like this?
Whatever, the NCAA’s treatment of players leaves much to be desired.
In an effort to correct the perceived injustice, a petition was launched. You can view the petition at the link. Essentially, it calls the NCAA to task for failing to live up to its mission and instead focusing on its bureaucratic rules instead of the student-athletes it is supposed to help, protect and develop.