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LSU DB Kristian Fulton appealing second year of 'unethical' 2-year NCAA ban

LSU defensive back Kristian Fulton (22) makes a low tackle on running back Nick Brossette (4) during the annual purple-gold spring game on April 22, 2017. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Kristian Fulton suit up for LSU.

Fulton, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback, was the top-rated recruit from Louisiana in the class of 2016. He signed with the in-state Tigers and appeared in three games that year as a true freshman. Fulton has not seen the field since, and his absence has been somewhat of a mystery.

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On Monday, we found out why Fulton did not play in 2017. Fulton’s attorney and father told the Baton Rouge Advocate that Fulton was hit with a two-year suspension by the NCAA. Fulton began serving the suspension last winter, his attorney, Don Jackson, said.

Fulton failed a drug test, but the suspension is a bit more complicated than that:

Fulton’s suspension kept him from playing the 2017 season. If not overturned, the suspension will prevent him from playing in, at least, the regular season of 2018, too. His eligibility would be reinstated for 2019. The 730-day suspension, Jackson said, is tied to a drug examination the NCAA conducted on Fulton late in the fall of 2016, Fulton’s true freshman season.

Fulton is alleged to have attempted to use a fraudulent testing sample, somewhat of a double whammy, according to the NCAA. The governing body of college athletics suspended him one calendar year for submitting a fraudulent sample and docked him another calendar year for allegedly failing the test, Jackson said. The NCAA considers a no-show or, in this case, a fraudulent sample a failed test, Jackson said.

Ordinarily, the NCAA’s penalty for a failed drug test is a one-year suspension. However, that suspension, as in Fulton’s case, is extended to “two calendar years” for a student-athlete who is “involved in a case of clearly observed tampering with an NCAA drug test as documented per NCAA drug-testing protocol by a drug-testing crew member.”

Fulton’s suspension was already appealed once by LSU, but it was denied by the NCAA. The family plans to try again with the hopes of overturning the second year of the suspension and granting Fulton eligibility for the 2018 season based on what Jackson says were “blatant violations of drug-testing protocol.”

“The NCAA suspending this young man for two full competitive seasons is unethical, and there are due process issues relative to the collection of the test specimen,” Jackson said. “The decision in this case was ethically and legally incorrect. He’s suffered the most serious sanction I’ve ever seen for a student-athlete who failed a drug test.”

Fulton was present for the beginning of LSU’s spring practices over the weekend but the program, The Advocate is reporting, is “preparing as if it will not have” Fulton for the 2018 campaign.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!