Kolton Houston still hasn’t played a regular-season down
for the University of Georgia, but after a tenuous 3-1/2-year
battle with the NCAA, the Bulldogs offensive lineman will finally
be eligible to take the field when the season starts this Fall.
Houston’s journey began in 2010, when the
Buford, Ga., native and son of former Bulldogs linebacker Shane
Houston failed a random drug test shortly after enrolling at
Georgia. The younger Houston was shown to have the anabolic steroid
19-norandrosterone in his system, the presence of which earned him
That suspension was later replaced with the threat a lifetime
ban after failing a second NCAA test, but there was a problem
bigger than a series of failed drug tests. Houston wasn’t
using performance enhancing drugs, and he wasn’t sure why
these tests kept coming up positive.
As it turned out, the positive tests were linked to a
professionally administered steroid injection following surgery
before Houston was ever enrolled at Georgia. The steroid was stuck
in his system — likely a result of poor aim by the doctor who
administered it — with seemingly no way of getting it
For years, Houston and the Bulldogs medical team have contended
that Houston was not using the drug, all while Houston continued to
fail regular drug screenings. And for years — and over the
course of dozens more drug tests — that meant nothing to the
NCAA, so long as the substance was still in his system.
According to ESPN, Houston “tried multiple
methods of getting the drug out of his body through the years,
including an aggressive massage regime, sweat therapy sessions and
even surgery, where doctors removed the fatty tissue where the drug
seemed to be concentrated.” But nothing was providing the quick fix
Over time, and however slowly, Houston’s steroid levels did
continue to drop — the NCAA limit is 2.5 nanograms per
milliliter of blood, and his original test showed 260 nanograms
— and finally, on Thursday, Houston’s 22nd birthday,
the good news came: He had been granted reinstatement after meeting
the exit threshold in his latest NCAA drug screening.
“This is the best birthday present I’ve ever
had,” Houston said in a statement. “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 has two years of eligibility left, and could apply for a
third if he so desired. But after three years of working to
overturn a suspension for a steroid he wasn’t taking,
there’s not much reason to believe that will be an easy task,