Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions for University of South Carolina football fans. The afternoon started off with a less than normal weekly press conference when head ball coach Steve Spurrier publicly ousted a local reporter. Then, in what seemed to be shockingly expected, the team announced that starting quarterback Stephen Garcia was officially off the team.
Today, lots of new details are surfacing about what exactly happened, and both coaches and Garcia’s family are speaking out in a report by WLTX.
“We have a lot of decisions to make right now,” Gary Garcia told CBSSports.com Tuesday afternoon. “We don’t know what his options are yet. We’re trying to absorb everything that’s happened. It’s happened so quickly.”
The elder Garcia was with his son on Tuesday helping him pack his things to move back to his hometown in Tampa, Fla.
“Obviously, he’s responsible for his own actions, which we’ve told him from the beginning,” Gary Garcia told The Tampa Tribune. “The stuff he did in the beginning, he should’ve known better than that. He should’ve made better decisions. We understand that.
“I don’t hold the university responsible for it. Stephen did it. He should be responsible. You only get so many chances.”
And many fans and officials close to the situation would argue he had more than his share of chances. Over the course of his career at USC, Garcia managed to get suspended and then reinstated a whopping five times. The final reinstatement came with a contract, though, that apparently Garcia just couldn’t abide by.
Gary Garcia said his son was dismissed from the program Tuesday for “having a couple of beers,” which violated the zero tolerance policy Stephen had agreed to abide by.
“I don’t know many college kids who can handle zero tolerance, but those were the choices we had,” Gary Garcia said.
“I don’t think he has to get anything squared away,” Gary Garcia told the Tribune. “He has been doing well. I don’t think he’s a loose cannon. He’s a wannabe college student who has a lot of eyes on him.”
“We all feel like we’ve given Stephen numerous opportunities to be a student-athlete here at South Carolina,” Spurrier said in a statement. “Obviously, he has chosen not to follow the guidelines of his reinstatement contract. We wish him the best.”