South Carolina Football: Gamecocks' Garcia suspended indefinitely
COLUMBIA -- Embattled South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia vowed two weeks ago that he would not get into any additional trouble while in college.
"Nothing bad is going to happen again," he said on March 24, while apologizing for a weeklong suspension related to an incident during the team's bowl trip. "It's a guarantee."
That promise did not last long.
Multiple sources said Garcia was loud and disruptive Tuesday night at an on-campus leadership, life-skills-building event for some USC student-athletes. Garcia was asked to leave the function.
Though the school did not divulge those details, Garcia was indefinitely suspended on Wednesday by USC athletic director Eric Hyman.
"Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes," Hyman said in a release. "Therefore, he has forfeited the privilege to participate in any football-related activity until further notice."
This is the fourth suspension from the team for Garcia, a 23-year-old fifth-year senior from Tampa, Fla.
Coach Steve Spurrier said after practice Wednesday night that the suspension will last the rest of the semester and "his status will be determined at a later date."
"We are where we are," Spurrier said. "If he's back, he's back. If he's not back, really it's the same thing as maybe a guy getting hurt, a guy going pro, whatever.
"Players come and go, as we all know. This incident should never have happened, but it did. This is where we are."
Garcia has thrown for 6,753 yards in his career -- third on the school's all-time passing list. It's a career that has been marred by off-field transgressions, which have made him a national punchline in the college football world.
This is the third time in five years that Garcia will fail to complete spring practice.
He was suspended for the duration of his first spring, in 2007, after two misdemeanor arrests following his early enrollment. He was suspended from school, including the entire spring, in 2008 after a citation for having alcohol on campus.
Garcia spent the summer at home, completing a stringent list of demands before he could be considered for readmission. Some university administrators thought he would not be able to adhere to those standards, but he did and was allowed to return to school for the fall semester.
Garcia improved on the field and, for the most part, walked the straight and narrow until the team's December bowl trip to Atlanta. There, in the days leading up to the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Florida State, coaches found Garcia and teammate Andrew Clifford with women and alcohol in their hotel room.
Garcia was allowed to play in the game, a 26-17 loss to the Seminoles.
He might not have played, if not for backup Connor Shaw's 102 degree fever during the week.
Garcia was 19 for 34 for 243 yards in the bowl, with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Overall, Garcia was much improved as a junior. His completion rate jumped from 55.3 percent to 64.2 percent.
Without Garcia, Shaw is expected to take the bulk of the snaps in Saturday's Garnet and Black Game. Redshirt freshman Dylan Thompson and Clifford will also get a good deal of work.
Garcia still has the support of at least some of his teammates, who spent a portion of Wednesday night defending him on the Internet.
"If you don't know anything about the Stephen Garcia situation, then don't speak on it," receiver Ace Sanders said, on Twitter. "He is a strong person that just needs a little guidance."
Defensive players sided with Garcia, as well.
"I still love Garcia," cornerback Stephon Gilmore tweeted. "He is still the best quarterback in the SEC. We got your back, bro."