I will get to the ramifications for the Bulldogs in a moment, but think about how monumental this is for Houston and his family. For more than three years their son has had to figure out what the future will be – if there was to be a future for him at all in Athens.
What seemed clear at all times was that Houston was going to be able (or required) to do every thing (and sometimes beyond) a student-athlete would need and want to do in order to participate in college sports: go to class; go to practice; go to games.
But Houston was never allowed to play in the game, which is the entire point of going on an athletic scholarship to college. Surely when he arrived from Buford High School years ago he wasn't thinking that his college career would end with him taking more drug tests than snaps.
What needs to be made clear here is that Houston, no matter what he did (or someone did to him) years ago, was over punished. What sort of an organization goes out of its way to keep Terrelle Pryor, Reggie Bush and Cam Newton eligible, but keeps Houston out?
What sort of bizarre world do we live in where this sort of thing happens? With the Houston case, at least the NCAA is setting precedent. The organization is saying, admitting at least, that it will correct mistakes – which is a very good start.
But what bout Houston's time beyond Georgia? Has his reputation been so damaged that an NFL team will not select him in an upcoming Draft? Does his family get reimbursed for the medical bills they, not Georgia, picked up over the last few years? Quite simply: the years that should be the best of Houston's life have been spent in perpetual purgatory. College hasn't been fun or fulfilling for Houston – and the NCAA is to blame.
Kolton Houston being able to finally play (and he's a very good player) is the minimum, but at least he and his family get what they have been searching for – delayed justice. And while the Houstons have a lot of people to thank for having their backs in this long affair… one person sticks out.
Ron Courson, Georgia's steady medical mind, needs to be given credit more than anyone else on this front. He stepped out of his comfort zone and pushed the envelope as far as he could. He told the NCAA they were wrong in no uncertain terms – and in scientific terms I could not possibly start to understand.
Good for Courson. He's one of the reasons prospects' parents should never worry if Georgia will do the right thing when it comes to the safety of their child. Courson went to bat for Houston and may have changed the way the NCAA polices things in the future.
On to Houston playing football – he will be another addition to an already deep and impressive offensive line. He will push starters for rotations and could end up starting – somewhere at some point.
But days like today – where wrongs are righted – make me think of the NCAA's head clown in charge Mark Emmert. You know, the guy who wrote:
"I am surprised that (Georgia) would make such a request (for Houston's reinstatement)."
A year later I'm not surprised Houston is playing, and I won't be surprised if NCAA drug testing policies as we know them today changes as a result of the Houston case.