Offensive Lineman Kolton Houston received his National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility on Thursday, which allowed him to play for UGA after a three-year ban from the association.
Houston was suspended since 2010 as an early enrollee after failing an NCAA drug test when traces of steroids were found in his system.
The news came in on Houston’s 22nd birthday.
“This is the best birthday present I’ve ever had,” said Houston in a statement released by UGA on Thursday. “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 traces of steroids were found out be given to Houston after a shoulder surgery in high school thus giving him a one-year suspension.
When Houston was tested again and failed he was given a lifetime ban.
“This has been a long and very complex case and we have tried to be advocates for Kolton throughout this three-year process,” Ron Courson, Georgia’s drector of sports medicine said in a statement. “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.”
Georgia administered regular drug tests to Houston and Courson claimed that the steroids were trapped in his fatty tissue and that there hasn’t been any re-use of the substance from Houston.
Even so, Houston’s appeal for immediate reinstatement had been denied by NCAA President Mark Emmert.
Emmert allowed Houston’s reinstatement after the amount of steroids reached the NCAA’S acceptable amount in the system.
“The big thing is that we’re just really happy for Kolton,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt. “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.”
After reinstatement Houston has two years of eligibility and may petition for a third year following his fifth school year at UGA.