COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina's Stephen Garcia has been indefinitely suspended from the football program, less than two weeks after the former Jefferson High quarterback guaranteed he would not get in trouble again.
Athletic director Eric Hyman announced the suspension Wednesday.
"Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student athletes," he said.
Coach Steve Spurrier said the suspension would last through the spring semester and Garcia's status beyond that would be determined later: "If he's back, he's back. If he's not back, it's really the same thing as a guy getting hurt, a guy going pro or whatever. … This instance should have never happened, but it did."
Spurrier would not go into details of what caused Garcia's fifth suspension — and second this spring — since he arrived on campus in January 2007. Spurrier said he, Hyman and university president Harris Pastides were involved in deciding what should be done with the Gamecocks' most experienced quarterback.
Garcia would not discuss the reason for the latest suspension, saying only it did not involve an arrest nor was it drug or alcohol related.
"I don't want to talk about it now," he said in a brief phone interview with the Associated Press.
Last month Garcia promised his problems were behind him. He pledged to be smarter in his life and avoid the mistakes he made in previous years. He was suspended for the first week of spring practice by Spurrier for violating undisclosed team rules during South Carolina's trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
"Nothing bad is going to happen again. That's guaranteed," Garcia said March 24.
Now that it has, his future at the school is in jeopardy.
He helped the Gamecocks win the SEC East and earn a trip to the league's championship game in the fall. Garcia leads all SEC returning quarterbacks in passing yards.
Garcia, 23, has struggled to stay out of trouble throughout his career. He came to South Carolina as a highly coveted prospect, yet was arrested twice his first two months at school. A year later, he was suspended a third time and prevented from working out with the team for more than four months.
Things had calmed for him off the field the next few years until this spring. "Every single thing I've done has been my fault," Garcia said last month.
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