It’s been a difficult week for offensive linemen at top-tier programs. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, both ranked inside the Top 25 in the initial coaches-poll, lost a starting center and left tackle, respectively, due to various issues.
Now, No. 6 Georgia’s line has taken a hit as well, and did so under very bizarre circumstances.
Head coach Mark Richt confirmed Thursday that right tackle Kolton Houston has been ruled ineligible for the 2012 season due to an issue with a banned substance. It’s the same issue that’s dogged the lineman since he initially tested positive for 19-Norandrosterone in April 2010.
According to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Houston took the drug to aid in the healing of a shoulder injury while he was in high school in 2009 and has not taken it since. But, for some reason that the school cannot explain, the substance continues to show up in drug tests administered by the NCAA; Houston was forced to sit out the 2011 season due to the same issue.
Richt is at a loss to explain the ongoing situation.
“Over time, you assume this substance would leave your body,” Richt said according to Gentry Estes of 247Sports.com. ”Well, we’ve been waiting for that moment, and it hasn’t come. It’s been 2 1/2 years and this thing has not, for whatever reason, gotten out of there. …
“We’re 100 percent certain he’s not continued to take this thing, but it’s just never gotten far enough out of his system for him to be declared eligible to play.”
Per Estes, the school has appealed the NCAA’s decisions on five different occasions to no avail. Despite the wall built up by the NCAA, Richt said that [w]“e’ve not given up hope” of Houston regaining his eligibility. They might not want to hold their breath on that one, however.
“While I understand the institutions empathy for Kolton’s situation, I am surprised the institution would make such a request,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in response to the latest of UGA’s appeals last month.
Exiting spring practice this year, Houston was projected to be the starting right tackle for the Bulldogs this season.