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Ryan Houston can play vs. Virginia

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina tailback Ryan Houston has been cleared to play this weekend at Virginia, the school said Thursday night.

School officials issued a statement saying Houston will make his season debut Saturday against the Cavaliers. Houston had been out of the first five games while the school and the NCAA worked to determine his status.

Houston, a senior, led the team in rushing in 2009, running for 713 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

The decision on Houston leaves five players whose status remains in question for the Tar Heels (3-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

That announcement 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 ruled Quinn ineligible Monday 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 says 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.