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Reports: Garcia out over alcohol issue

Quarterback Stephen Garcia said in a text message that he was “shocked and completely flabbergasted to be honest” by his dismissal from South Carolina on Tuesday morning.

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Quarterback Stephen Garcia said in a text message that he was “shocked and completely flabbergasted to be honest” by his dismissal from South Carolina on Tuesday morning.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Stephen Garcia won't get another chance to play quarterback for No. 15 South Carolina.

The former Jefferson High star, who had been suspended and brought back to the team five times, was dismissed Tuesday for failing an alcohol test Oct. 4, the Associated Press and The State of Columbia, S.C., reported.

Garcia had agreed to undergo periodic tests for the presence of any alcohol as a condition of his reinstatement, the AP reported.

Athletic director Eric Hyman said only that the fifth-year senior failed to meet agreed-upon guidelines.

"Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right and we remind all of our student-athletes that there are consequences for their actions," Hyman said in a statement.

Garcia said in a text message that he was "shocked and completely flabbergasted to be honest" by the dismissal. He plans to have a full statement this week.

"He kind of made his own bed, and this is the culmination of some of those earlier mistakes," Gary Garcia, Stephen's father, told The State. "I think he's upset that he's not finishing what he came here to do, and that's win an SEC championship, but he also is maybe kind of relieved to get a little bit out of the eye of the storm and take a breath of fresh air."

The quarterback was suspended twice this offseason and reinstated fully in August.

Hyman and coach Steve Spurrier said then that Garcia had to live up to several regulations to keep his spot. "Unfortunately," Hyman said, Garcia "has not been able to abide by those guidelines and therefore forfeited his position on the roster."

Former Jefferson coach Mike Fenton, a family friend of the Garcias, said it had been a difficult time for the family recently. Stephen's grandfather died last week, and he returned to Tampa to attend the funeral. And Garcia was demoted behind sophomore Connor Shaw on Oct. 3.

"It's a shame he didn't get to finish there," Fenton said. "It's been a rough road for him ever since he got there. … I think he's learned from his mistakes."

Spurrier said he was sad that Garcia's career ended this way.

"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," Spurrier said in a statement. "We wish him the best."

Times staff writer Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this report.

Reports: Garcia out over alcohol issue 10/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 11:41pm]
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