After more than three years of waiting, offensive lineman Kolton Houston has finally been reinstated as a full member of the Georgia Bulldogs football team. The offensive lineman had been declared ineligible for collegiate play in 2010 when he tested positive for a banned substance called “19-norandrosterone,” an anabolic steroid.
But here’s the catch: The steroid had been medically administered to Houston following shoulder surgery in high school.
“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.”
Why it took so long, exactly, for the NCAA to finally come to a ruling in this case has not been answered as of writing. But at the moment, that is not what he or coach Mark Richt are worried about. The school made the announcement on Thursday and Richt was quick to simply celebrate the moment.
“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, for his part, is elated. Especially considering he got the news on his 22nd birthday. How about that for theatrics?
“This is the best birthday present I’ve ever had,” Houston said about his reinstatement. “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.”
The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Houston was an Under Armour All-American game participant in 2010 and was rated as an ESPN150-ranked recruit.
He will have two years of eligibility remaining and can petition the NCAA for a third should he choose to do so.
[H/T: CBS Sports]