Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A failed "substance test" has brought the star-crossed Stephen Garcia era at South Carolina to its final, official end.
Gamecock athletic director Eric Hyman issued a statement Tuesday that Garcia has been dismissed fron the Carolina football program, effective immediately.
“Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right,” said Hyman, “For Stephen to return to and remain with the football squad this fall, we agreed on several established guidelines. Unfortunately, he has not been able to abide by those guidelines and has therefore forfeited his position on the roster. We wish him the best of luck as he moves forward in life.”
CBSSports.com South Carolina RapidReporter Josh Kendall reported Tuesday that two sources confirmed that Garcia had failed a "random substance test." Per Kendall, Garcia was reportedly informed of the school's decision Tuesday morning.
“We are all saddened that this has occurred,” Steve Spurrier said in the school statement. “We all feel like we’ve given Stephen numerous opportunities to be a student-athlete here at South Carolina. Obviously, he has chosen not to follow the guidelines of his reinstatement contract. We wish him the best.”
The news comes on the heels of Garcia's benching for the Gamecocks' Week 6 win over Kentucky. Garcia was leading the FBS with nine interceptions thrown when Steve Spurrier elected to go with Connor Shaw as his teams starting quarterback. Garcia did not make an appearance against the Wildcats, with sophomore Andrew Clifford handling mop-up duties in the 54-3 blowout.
Garcia has had a long history of off-field problems and suspensions. The senior has reportedly been on his last disciplinary strike ever since a March incident at a team function resulted in his suspension from spring practice. Hyman and Spurrier both set up "guidelines" for Garcia's return, guidelines which Spurrier said he had been following with commitment over the summer, resulting in his reinstatement just before fall camp.
Garcia's career wraps up with 34 career starts, 7,597 passing yards, 47 passing touchdowns, and 41 interceptions. Though he'll likely be remembered for never quite living up to his vast dual-threat potential, Garcia will also go down as the quarterback who led the Gamecocks to their first-ever win over a No. 1 team (vs. Alabama in 2010, in a 17-for-20 performance that will stand as testament to what he could accomplish at maximum focus) and SEC East division title.