Thursday, May 9, 2013
'OTL' explores Houston's story
By David Ching
ATHENS, Ga. -- Kolton Houston will explain his side of a lengthy NCAA eligibility dispute for the first time on Sunday morning.
ESPN reporter Bob Holtzman visited the Georgia offensive lineman and his family at their Buford, Ga., home in March and assembled a piece for "Outside the Lines" that will air at 9 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN.
A year ago, Kolton Houston won a starting job during spring practice. But issues with the NCAA's policies on steroid use have kept him on the sidelines.
In Holtzman's story, Houston and UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson describe their unusual three-year battle with the NCAA that began when Houston first tested positive for steroid use shortly after enrolling at Georgia in 2010.
Although the NCAA has accepted Courson's extensive testing data that indicates Houston has not reused the performance-enhancing drug, it has not wavered in its decision that Houston will remain ineligible until tests reveal that the drug remains in his system only at an allowable level. In dozens of tests since the initial positive result in 2010, the remaining trace elements of the drug have not dissipated enough to reach the minimum threshold set forth in the NCAA's rulebook. Thus he has yet to appear in a college game, and the Bulldogs have been forced to play without a player who was projected to start at right tackle after spring practice concluded last year.
What will happen next remains unclear. UGA sports information director Claude Felton said Wednesday morning that Houston is "currently on the roster," but "as of this moment still ineligible."
Courson made his first public appeal on Houston's behalf last August, when the Bulldogs opened preseason practice. He had privately lobbied college sports' governing body that the trace elements of the drug that remain in Houston's system do not provide a performance-enhancing benefit, but the NCAA has not made an exception to its rules for Houston.
Courson and Bulldogs coach Mark Richt have spoken to reporters about the case in the past year, but the "Outside the Lines" interview will represent the first time Houston has publicly addressed his situation.
In addition to its Sunday morning time slot, "Outside the Lines" will air next week at 3 p.m. ET Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.