Travesty of justice: Kolton Houston versus the NCAA

photo from 247sports.com.

photo from 247sports.com.

Full disclosure: I am a graduate of the University of Georgia, class of 1983. I bleed red and black.

It is fair to say I am an avid Georgia Bulldog fan.

Nevertheless, I’m quite sure that my school allegiance doesn’t color my judgment in this matter, based on the available facts, not emotion.

That caveat aside, I will say that it is nothing less than a travesty of justice that Kolton Houston remains ineligible to compete on the football field. And that’s not just my admittedly biased opinion.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines told the basic story, a rather depressing tale of how one young man has been forced by this monopoly that controls every aspect of collegiate sports to pay, and continue to pay, for the mistake of a medical professional made almost four years ago.

The NCAA has unchecked power over the lives of people such as Kolton Houston, a young man who reportedly dreamed of wearing the Bulldog uniform since he was four-years-old.

And as Lord Acton famously said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Once upon a time, all the way back in 2010 a high school athlete was injected with a forbidden anabolic steroid to facilitate healing from shoulder surgery.

No doubt, somebody made a bad judgment call.

Compounding an error in judgment into a tragic mistake, the injection went into fat instead of muscle, causing Houston to test positive years after that one-and-only treatment.

As a result of that error, Houston has become the most tested athlete in the history of college sports.

The evidence remains incontrovertible — even if Houston knowingly accepted an injection of a banned substance once during high school, he never repeated the mistake.

So why does he remain ineligible to play?

What more can the young man do? How much longer must he suffer for the mistake made by his doctor?

Due to this travesty of justice, Houston has lost three years of eligibility to play college football.

Chip Towers reported in the AJC that in a desperate gamble, Houston even underwent risky elective surgery in an attempt to remove enough contaminated fat tissue from the injection site to regain his eligibility.

It almost worked. The surgery reduced the level of steroid in his tissue from 260 nanograms per milliliter all the way down to 4.

But that’s not good enough for NCAA president Mark Emmert. The NCAA’s inflexible standard remains a maximum of 2.5 ng/ml.

When asked about the issue, Emmert sneered that he was surprised Georgia officials had the audacity to complain after Houston’s appeal was denied.

After all, he had lifted the preposterous lifetime ban previously given Houston after being presented with the overwhelming evidence of his innocence.

Emmert simply wasn’t willing to go any farther. Rules are rules.

Unless the NCAA president has a change of heart or until 1.5 ng/ml more of this banned substance dissipates from Houston’s body, this poor young man will remain on the sidelines, confined to the practice field. However, things are always subject to change.

The NCAA currently has a bit of a public relations problem.

That monolithic monopoly potentially faces a class action lawsuit brought by several former student athletes, who have grown tired of watching the NCAA reap billions in profit that they have steadfastly refused to share with those same players.

A piece of unsolicited advice to the NCAA — it would be unwise to have me serve on that jury, given my current frame of mind.

The organization could stand to have a little positive news in the media, especially right at the moment.

The reader may be wondering: is there anything you can do?

Why, yes.

There is a petition in support of reinstating the eligibility of Kolton Houston that already has a several thousand signatures.

Thousands more need to sign.

Enough is enough.