Stephen Garcia will not be in a USC football uniform this Saturday for the first time since the fall of 2006. Garcia was dismissed from the team earlier this week after, according to the university, he failed a substance abuse test.
Garcia, who had survived five suspensions by the school, allegedly broke his agreement with school president Harris Pastides, athletic director Eric Hyman, and head coach Steve Spurrier, when he drank alcohol on Sunday, October 2nd. Garcia was under a strict, no tolerance policy by the university regarding the use of alcohol.
Garcia had arguably the worst performance of his career a day earlier in the loss to Auburn, a performance that cost him his starting job. Some of his teammates came over to help cheer him up the next day, and during that gathering Garcia drank alcohol in violation of the agreement he made with the school when his last suspension was lifted. Garcia was subject to random drug and alcohol testing. He was given a test October 4th and it came back positive.
Spurrier learned Monday night Garcia was off the team. Spurrier met with the media on Tuesday but made no mention of the Garcia situation. He was under orders not to comment on Garcia’s departure because the school wanted to give Garcia’s parents time to come into Columbia and sort things out. The university later issued a formal release announcing Garcia’s dismissal from the team at 1:34 PM Tuesday. Later that day Garcia packed up his belongings and returned with his parents to his hometown of Tampa.
So, what does a quarterback who passed for over 7000 yards, won an SEC East title, and was undefeated in two starts against Clemson do without his team? His father said Thursday afternoon his son is trying to deal with his situation as best he can. “He’s emotionally drained,” Gary Garcia said. Father and son plan to play golf Friday, and they will watch the Gamecocks play at Mississippi State Saturday.
The Gamecocks have three November home games and Gary Garcia would not rule out the possibility of he and his son attending one. He said he and his family developed a lot of friendships with Gamecock fans over the years and he would like to maintain those relationships.