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Free Kolton Houston (or, Keep Beating That Dead Horse, Son)

ESPN's weekly magazine, Outside The Lines, aired the Kolton Houston story in it's entirety on Sunday morning. Every now and then, the WWL can truly do something positive. This was one of those times.

NCAA President Mark Emmert
NCAA President Mark Emmert
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

If you have not watched this report by Bob Holtzman, Here is the 8+ minute piece for your consideration, and a brief synopsis of some of the main points:

Kolton Houston signed with Georgia in 2010, and was a Top 150 player in the nation, receiving over 35 offers from around the country and 10 from the Southeastern Conference alone. Upon arriving at Georgia, he tested positive for Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid that was administered by his doctor to treat a shoulder injury in while Houston was in high school.

The Nandrolone was incorrectly administered in his fatty tissue surrounding his surgical areas and has remained in situ ever since. Nandrolone is intended as an "inta-muscular" injection to speed up healing following surgery. Because Nandrolone does not metabolize when it is embedded within fatty tissue, repeated drug tests - administered by Ron Courson, UGA's Director of Sports Medicine and self reported to the NCAA - has revealed the presence of this drug, well above the NCAA limits. His tests - over 80 to date - have shown a steady decline in the amount of this steroid from an original benchmark of 260 nano grams (ng)/milli-liter (ml) to the current levels of 4.0 (ng)/(ml). The NCAA threshold for reinstatement is 2.5 (ng)/(ml).

Originally, Houston was given a lifetime ban because of repeated "positive" tests for Nandrolone. Because Courson was so meticulous in his testing and record-keeping, he was able to prove that Houston's levels were declining over time, not rising, to the present level of 4.0 (ng)/(ml). The NCAA lifted the lifetime ban, but has not lifted his eligibility ban.

Greg McGarity sent a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert last summer appealing for an exception to this exceptional case. Emmert's ridiculous response of "surprise" that a request would even be made is now the stuff of infamy.

The fact remains that Kolton currently has the presence of a banned substance in his system and he will not be able to participate in NCAA competition until that presence drops to an appropriate threshold. - NCAA President Mark Emmert

Ultimately, that's what they're (The NCAA) there for...there for the student athlete. And in this case, it's not in Kolton's best interest to withhold him from competition any longer. He's served his suspension. -Tiffany Houston (Kolton's mother)

Kolton Houston, in an attempt to purge the remaining traces of Nandrolone from his body, has tried some radical treatments, including prolonged sauna sessions (up to 8 hours/day), antibiotics, and even surgery to remove 5 specific areas of fatty tissue that contained concentrated areas of steroid. None of this has worked.

I was really hesitant about it because the NCAA preach that they're here for the safety of the athletes. And this would be the third step that was completely unsafe for an athlete. - Kolton Houston on his experimental medical treatments.

Does this report put pressure on the NCAA to do the right thing? Probably not. Clearly, the University of Georgia and Ron Courson have gone above and beyond the call to provide specific testing with comprehensive record keeping. At what point does common sense take over, or is the NCAA so obtuse and bloated to even make a special concession? As ESPN's Mark Schlabach put it, "The NCAA could use some good PR." Still, this is about doing the right thing. Kolton Houston has done it, UGA has done it. The ball is in your court, Mr. Emmert. Do it.

If the NCAA is unable to reevaluate their stance and clear Kolton Houston, I sincerely hope the Houston family has a legal avenue to get some justice in this case.

(Meanwhile, A.J. Green just got another game suspension...)

Go Dawgs and Happy Mother's Day!

h/t chuckdawg for the title suggestion.

Editor's Note: NCT's Original Kolton Houston Story Here