LSU defensive back Kristian Fulton and his family are planning to file an appeal to the NCAA, asking the organization to cut Fulton's two-year suspension short after he attempted to pass off another’s urine as his own for a February 2017 drug test, according to Sports Illustrated.
The appeal is seen as a last-ditch effort, the report says, to allow Fulton to play in 2018. According to NCAA policy, an athlete involved in a case of “clearly observed tampering” with a drug test is banned from competition for 730 days, or two full calendar years.
Don Jackson, an Alabama-based attorney who represents the family, told The Advocate in March that there's new evidence that questions the handling of Fulton’s test sample.
“There were blatant violations of drug-testing protocol,” Jackson said at the time. “We’re attempting to request the decision be re-examined, and (for) him to immediately be declared eligible for 2018.”
Fulton emerged from Rummel ranked as high as the No. 3 cornerback in the 2016 recruiting class. Buried behind talented defensive backs as a true freshman, he played in just three games, finishing the season with two tackles.
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Fulton spent last season practicing and working out with the team, but he could not travel with the team for road games or be on the sideline during home games.
His absence affected the Tigers. Coaches never found a strong enough nickel cornerback, a position in which Fulton specializes. It forced defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to play a four-defensive back set as opposed to his preferred five defensive backs. An extra defensive back — a strategy that adds a speedy coverage man to the defense — helps combat the spread offenses LSU faces regularly.
Fulton’s potential absence in 2018 is already being felt.
Three-star cornerback Marcus Banks liked the food and apparently what he saw of the LSU campus during his official visit this weekend.
The team is preparing as if it again will not have the once-prized recruit. To boost the thin depth at cornerback, coaches moved receiver Mannie Netherly to the position, and they’ll play safety signee Kelvin Joseph there too. LSU also signed Stanford graduate-transfer Terrence Alexander, a New Orleans native and former John Curtis star.
A two-year suspension is “overly punitive,” Jackson said in March. College athletes are allowed to play four seasons over five years. Fulton would have two seasons of eligibility remaining after the suspension ends around December 2018.