University of Georgia offensive lineman and Buford grad Kolton Houston has been granted reinstatement by the NCAA after three years under suspension.
Houston was declared ineligible in January 2010, his first semester at Georgia, following routine NCAA drug testing which detected a banned substance. The substance was later determined to have been medically administered following shoulder surgery while Houston was in high school.
Houston met the exit threshold following his most recent NCAA drug screening.
“This has been a long and very complex case and we have tried to be advocates for Kolton throughout this three-year process,” said UGA senior associate athletic director for sports medicine Ron Courson. “We would like to thank the NCAA staff, as well as the members of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, who assisted with this case. There are a number of medical professionals who played key roles in this appeal, from physicians to pharmacists to biomedical researchers to drug toxicologists. This was truly a team effort.”
On Thursday – Houston’s birthday – he received the news in a telephone call from Courson.
“This is the best birthday present I’ve ever had,” Houston said. “I had almost reached the point where I thought this situation would never end. When I got the call, I broke down and cried for about 30 minutes. I had that much emotion stored up and it felt good to get it out. I’m ready now to show what I can do.”
Houston, a 6-foot-5, 280-pounder, kept working hard during his trials. He earned the Coffee County Hustle Award after spring practice in both 2011 and 2012.
“The big thing is that we’re just really happy for Kolton,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We’re thankful for all the work Ron Courson put in and for those who kept believing, but mostly we’re happy for him. We don’t want to put any pressure on him like now he’s got to be a star. The bottom line is, we’re happy he’ll be able to participate for Georgia. We’re glad it all worked out.”
Houston has two years of eligibility remaining and could petition for a third year following his fifth year of school at Georgia if he chooses to do so.
“I hope that all student-athletes will take note of this case and use extreme caution when taking supplements or medications of any kind, ensuring beforehand that they are safe and permissible,” said Courson.