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Ex-UNC Football Players Receive Jail Sentence

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HILLSBOROUGH — Two Ex-UNC football players, who didn't perform their court-ordered community service, got a jail sentence today. Rico McCain and Varian Ballard were found guilty of simple assault in May. They were kicked off the team Friday.

The assistant District Attorney says Rico McCain paid $440 restitution, but performed none of the ordered 24 hours of community service. He says Varian Ballard paid no restitution, and performed only 8 hours of community service. The judge ordered the two ex-UNC players to serve 10 days in jail. Not fulfilling community service is a rarity in Orange County.

"Very infrequently from what I've seen. I would say maybe ten percent do not complete their community service. It's very infrequent," said Doug Thoren, Assistant District Attorney.

The state says 25 percent of all defendants given community service do not fulfill their obligations until many judges, including the Chief District Judge in Orange County, say community service is a good option.

"I think the key emphasis there is option," said Judge Joe Buckner

Buckner presided over the two ex-football players' case. He says successful defendants often serve in places like the Orange County Animal Shelter, monitored by an on site supervisor.

"Its a way to start to get people to think about what role that they have, their own actions and what they're gonna do for the community. Plus it provides a lot of very valuable service to local communities and non-profit and state agencies that need work done," said Buckner.

The players are allowed to leave the Orange County jail to attend classes. Coach Carl Torbush recommended that their athletic scholarships be revoked.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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