ATHENS - The unusual case of Kolton Houston got a national airing on Sunday morning.
Houston, who is suspended by the NCAA because of a steroid issue, spoke publicly for the first time about his case. Speaking on the ESPN program "Outside the Lines," the Georgia junior said he never knew he was being injected with a steroid, and that the NCAA should make "a special case for me."
"I'm just trying to argue that I'm not re-using. That I'm not re-using at all," Houston said. "First of all I didn't even know that I did use. And I'm surely not re-using."
Houston's situation first became public last August, prior to what would have been his third season at Georgia. When he was in high school, Houston was given injections to treat a shoulder injury. UGA athletic trainer Ron Courson has said the injections were from an "unscrupulous" doctor, whose name is not known.
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So Houston tested positive for a steroid, Norandrolone, early in his freshman year at Georgia, which resulted in an automatic year-long suspension. The second positive test came prior to his second year at Georgia, which meant a lifetime NCAA suspension.
"That's when I think I actually broke down and cried in his office," Houston told ESPN. "It sort of hit me. I think we're in over our heads here."
UGA appealed the lifetime ban, and the NCAA agreed that if Houston's levels of steroid residue go below the NCAA threshold, he can be eligible.
But Georgia has appealed that too, saying scientific evidence shows that Houston has not re-used, because the levels, although still above the threshold, have gone down. But the NCAA has denied the appeal. Houston remains ineligible until the amount of testosterone in his system drops below a certain level.
"I think the NCAA should be able to stand up for what's right, for what they know is right, and make a special case for me," Houston said.
"He's served his suspension," Houston's mother told ESPN.
Houston was Georgia's first-team right tackle coming out of spring practice in 2012, although he was going to face stiff competition from incoming prospect John Theus.
Houston did not participate in spring practice this season.
Last summer Houston tried a detox program, where he sat in a sauna that was about 150 degrees, to try to get the steroid residue out of his system. He tried other methods, including an experimental procedure where fatty acids were taken out of his system.
UGA tests Houston regularly in order to try to get a good result. If one came before this season, he would have two seasons of eligibility, with an outside possibility of appealing for one or both of the lost years back.