COLUMBIA -- Stephen Garcia is back. Again. Sort of.
As expected, and as Steve Spurrier had hinted for weeks, South Carolina's headline-making senior quarterback had his suspension partially lifted Monday.
Garcia will be allowed to participate with his teammates in voluntary workouts, which begin Wednesday along with the first session of summer school.
If Garcia stays out of trouble, he is expected to earn full reinstatement just before the beginning of preseason camp in August.
Spurrier floated that general theory last week at a Gamecock Club meeting in Darlington. He used the six Gamecock Club meetings, held throughout the state in May, to inch closer and closer to Monday's official reinstatement.
In Charleston on May 16, Spurrier said Garcia might return on a "probationary basis." That verbiage stuck in the school's release, which was issued at 10:30 a.m. on a national holiday.
"Stephen still has to do some things here for the next two or three months to prove himself worthy of being a student-athlete at South Carolina," Spurrier said in the release. "We will give him another chance and hopefully he can do the right things and represent the university in a first-class manner."
The 23-year-old has been suspended five times in his career, the most recent coming April 6, after he mouthed off during and
admitted drinking before an SEC-mandated violence prevention seminar.
The suspension came from athletic director Eric Hyman's desk, since the incident occurred at a university function. Hyman also weighed in Monday, at length.
"Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right," Hyman said, echoing language from the statement when Garcia was suspended. "We explain to all of our student-athletes that there are consequences for their actions. Our main goal for Stephen at this time is to assist him in developing the decision-making skills that are needed for managing life in general, whether as a student-athlete, a person, an employee, a spouse or a parent."
Garcia has a 3 1/2-year-old son named Memphys. He graduated May 6, earning a sociology degree. Garcia has complied with every demand by the school for reinstatement.
That includes, sources have said, an alcohol abuse treatment program. Several of Garcia's transgressions, including an arrest his first month on campus, involved alcohol. Physicians overseeing Garcia's treatment plan are involved with the reinstatement process.
"With assistance from others, we have developed a list of measurable guidelines for Stephen to follow," Hyman said. "I want to make it clear those guidelines, which will remain confidential, are designed to help him live a successful life and are not some trivial hoops for him to jump through in order to find a way to reinstate him.
"The ball clearly rests in Stephen Garcia's hands."
Garcia, who has started 28 consecutive games for USC and has 17 wins as a starter, currently sits third on the school's all-time passing list, with 6,753 yards.
Preseason camp begins Aug. 3, and the season opener against East Carolina is in Charlotte on Sept. 3.