Tar Heels get leading rusher back

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina tailback Ryan Houston has been cleared to play Saturday at Virginia.

The school said Thursday Houston will make his season debut after being held out of five games while it and the NCAA determined his status. Houston, a senior, led the team in rushing in 2009, running for 713 yards and scoring nine touchdowns.

The decision on Houston leaves five Tar Heels players whose status remains in question.

The announcement about Houston came a few hours after defensive end Robert Quinn issued an apology to teammates and coaches after the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible for accepting improper benefits.

The NCAA on Monday ruled Quinn ineligible for receiving about $5,600 in agent-related benefits and travel accommodations, including two black diamond watches. The junior was considered to be one of the nation's top NFL defensive prospects.

Quinn said he is sorry for "bringing this burden" on his teammates.

Quinn and receiver Greg Little were declared ineligible on the same day the school kicked defensive tackle Marvin Austin off the team for their parts in the NCAA probe.

More UNC: Coach Butch Davis told his players to stop using Twitter. The decision follows at least two instances in which players were told to take down posts. A school spokesman said defensive tackle Quinton Coples and fullback Devon Ramsey recently made inappropriate posts, though details were not disclosed.

Indiana: Darius Willis, the Hoosiers' leading rusher this season and last, is out for the season with a patellar tendon injury. Willis, who is scheduled for surgery next week, was hurt during practice last week.

Kentucky: Leading rusher Derrick Locke likely will sit out Saturday because of stingers in both shoulders. One was sustained during last week's loss to Auburn. The senior is fourth in the SEC in rushing at 95.7 yards per game. If Locke can't play, coach Joker Phillips said the Wildcats will rely more on receiver Randall Cobb, a former quarterback who takes snaps out of the wildcat.

Notre Dame: Armando Allen, the Irish's leading rusher this season and the previous two, will be a game-time decision because of a hip flexor.

Michigan-Alabama: The teams will open the 2012 season at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Wolverines and Tide have played three times but never in the regular season.

Kansas St. 59, Kansas 7: Carson Coff­man ran for three scores and threw for two for the visiting Wildcats (5-1, 2-1 Big 12). They led the Jayhawks (2-4, 0-2) just 3-0 after the first quarter before scoring on six consecutive possessions.

Men's basketball: The attorney for Baylor guard LaceDarius Dunn said his client has been cleared by the school to return to class and practice while he faces an allegation that he broke his girlfriend's jaw in a domestic dispute. But the second-team All-Big 12 pick and Bears' leading scorer from last season remains suspended from games while he faces charges. Dunn's girlfriend previously said he didn't hit her and she wants charges dropped and Dunn reinstated.

Baseball: After a former Miami player was arrested on drug charges last month, the remaining members of the team passed a test that would have detected recreational and performance-enhancing drugs. Frank Ratcliff was charged with selling marijuana on campus, and a subsequent search of his home turned up 19 vials of human growth hormone. Court records show Ratcliff has entered a drug program and a status hearing is set for Nov. 8. Coach Jim Morris said Ratcliff never failed a drug test while with the Hurricanes.

College basketball practice starts today

It's Midnight Madness! And it's today! Well, it's still called Midnight Madness, but the NCAA now allows teams' first official practice to start at 5 p.m. local time.

Among the major state teams, only Florida State will hold a public event. "Jam With Ham" (as in coach Leonard Hamilton) is at 6 p.m. at Tully Gym on campus. The scrimmage will be followed by a 3-point contest and dunk challenge.

Practices at Florida and USF are not open to the public. Gators players will appear at tonight's Gator Growl, the homecoming pep rally.

Nationally, coverage on ESPNU starts at 9. It will have correspondents at defending national champion Duke as well as Kentucky, Memphis, Gonzaga, Kansas State and St. John's. Correspondents will also be at Connecticut to cover the opening of women's practice for the first time.

Tar Heels get leading rusher back 10/14/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 15, 2010 1:43am]

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