Garcia dismissed from Gamecock squad

Stephen Garcia / FILE

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- University of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia has been dismissed from the football program.

University officials broke the news in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

"We remind all of our student-athletes that there are consequences for their actions," said athletics director Eric 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."

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There has been significant speculation about the reason behind Garcia's dismissal. Several media outlets, including's Chris Low, indicate sources say it was the result of a failed alcohol and marijuana test. reports Garcia's father Gary says his son was dismissed for "having a couple of beers," which violated the zero tolerance policy Garcia had to abide by.

News of the suspension did not surprise many in Gamecock Nation.

"I think it's a good thing for the team," said fan Matt Shaw. "I think he was bringing them down. His behavior was unacceptable. He's had plenty of second chances. I think it's finally about time we got rid of him."

Fans pointed to the fact that Garcia knew the rules and failed to live up to expectations.

"My take on it is if you violate team rules, there are consequences for that ," said fan Dan MIller. We all have rules in life we have to follow and if you don't there are consequences."

Garcia finishes his career just one week after head coach Steve Spurrier announced Connor Shaw was his new starter, pushing Garcia to the sidelines.

At the time, Spurrier wasn't willing to detail the reasons behind Garcia's struggles this season, as the fifth-year senior threw only four touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

"I can't get in to that. I just can't get in to all that," said Spurrier last week. "Stephen's trying as hard as he can and it just hasn't worked out for him."

The quarterback ends his USC career with 7,5987passing yards,47 touchdowns and 41 interceptions, completing more than 57 percent of passes. Stats place him as the third QB in school history to throw for more than 7,500 yards. He leaves with a 20-14 record as starting quarterback. Before the season started, many hope Garcia could become the school's all-time leading passser.

Garcia is no stranger to trouble. He was suspended five times in his years at USC, mostly for violation linked to partying and drinking. This past spring, the highly touted quarterback was suspended for causing an incident with an instructor at a leadership seminar. Reports indicated Garcia had alcohol on his breath.

He was reinstated to the team for fall practice under very strict guidelines established in what Spurrier called a "reinstatement contract."

Garcia finishes his career with 7,597 passing yards, completing 589-of-1021 passes (57.7 percent), with 47 touchdowns and 41 interceptions. He became the third quarterback in school history to throw for more than 7,500 yards in a career, and also ranks third on the all-time charts in pass attempts, pass completions and passing touchdowns. He posted a 20-14 record as a starting quarterback. This season, he was 61-of-118 (51.7 percent) for 844 yards with four touchdowns and nine interceptions in five games.

The Gamecock faithful labeled the once highly-touted recruit from Florida a program changer when he arrived on the USC campus. Those expectation were never fully met. This past August, Garcia made a prophetic statement about his troubles at the college level that eerily wrapped up his past and now his present.

"Coming in here I didn't realize it was going to be this kind of a fish bowl," said Garcia. "I learned the hard way which I've tended to do over the course of my life."

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