Cougar cornerback's career over

AIRE JUSTIN

CB AIRE JUSTIN's college career ended on Friday when the NCAA denied his appeals on a year's suspension for violating the NCAA's banned substance policy.

Under the NCAA's program, failure to comply with the policy results in a student-athlete being withheld from competition in all sports for a minimum of 365 days, WSU said in a release.

Because Aire Justin is a redshirt senior, the cornerback would not have any eligibility left following the 2011 season.

As is customary and due to privacy issues, the NCAA and school released no information on what substance was involved. Some NCAA banned substances are sold over the counter, such as certain ingredients in protein drinks or diet pills, but whether that was the case with Justin was unknown.

Regardless, WSU operates a robust nutritional program. They continually educate their players on the perils of taking any substance that isn't approved, and staff is always available to provide guidance on what is or isn't approved. WSU also, for example, literally places in the player's hands approved protein shakes following certain workouts.

"Aire made a big mistake by not following the guidelines our athletic department has in place," said Paul Wulff in the release. "This is not the way we want our team to operate. This is an issue I take very seriously and will continue to educate our student-athletes on proper nutrition and strongly reinforce to all our student-athletes the importance of following departmental procedures."

As noted in the post-spring cornerback story published earlier Friday on CF.C, the top two cornerbacks this spring and who now sit atop the post-spring depth chart are Nolan Washington and Damante Horton. Justin played well this spring, and although not well enough to dislodge Horton, he was seen as both important depth and a player who would contribute in '11.

What Justin brought most to the table and what the Cougs will miss most was his ballhawking ability. Justin was a top playmaker in the defensive backfield this spring and was seemingly always a threat to make a pick.

Beyond Washington and Horton, Justin's departure means a return to full health by Daniel Simmons (shoulder) becomes that much more important. Simmons has compiled 13 starts over his first two seasons on the field -- four starts his freshman campaign before injury ended his season, and another nine in 2010 before injury again cut his season short.

Also, Brandon Golden is a rising cornerback who missed the spring with a torn pectoral muscle. Once he gets healthy, some observers believe he will be a key performer at the corner spot in '11. Tracy Clark also made significant progress during the final week-plus of spring ball. In the fall, Spencer Waseem arrives and the Florida corner is said to have a big upside and the potential to contribute early.

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