Columbia Crackdown: Will Garcia's Suspension Cost Gamecocks in SEC Race?

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Columbia Crackdown: Will Garcia's Suspension Cost Gamecocks in SEC Race?
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
QB Stephen Garcia in action versus the Alabama Crimson Tide. Named the Totitos Fiesta Bowl Player of the Week, Garcia would go on to throw for over 3,000 yards in 2010 and lead the team to an SEC East Championship. Due to misbehavior, Garcia is suspended indefinitely.

Columbia, SC—News out of Columbia is that Stephen Garcia is suspended indefinitely from the University of South Carolina football team. Garcia smelled of alcohol and acted inappropriatly while attending a school life skills seminar on Tuesday, a source told ESPN.

A video on ESPN.com reported that Steve Spurrier could give Garcia the final blow, but University officials who have hierarchy over him will also play a role in the decision.

Another point of interest in the video is that Garcia's talent currently edges his competitor's, Connor Shaw. However, the players on the team like to rally around the sophomore.

This is becoming a yearly tradition in Columbia, and here's what Athletic Director Eric Hyman had to say:

“Being a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina is a privilege, not a right,” Athletics Director Eric Hyman said in a statement from the university. “We have expectations for our student-athletes and we make them aware that there are consequences for their actions. Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes. Therefore, he has forfeited the privilege to participate in any football related activity until further notice.”

Garcia, who is third in Gamecock football history in passing yards (6,753) and touchdowns (43), was suspended earlier this spring for a "violation of team rules," which occurred in the team's trip to Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

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After his week suspension, the quarterback promised that no other incidents would happen in his time at the University, stating, "It was bad decision on my part down in Atlanta. Nothing bad is going to happen. This is a guarantee."

So what does this mean for the University and the football team? We will not know until further information is released by Coach Steve Spurrier to the media after practice Wednesday.

The Gamecocks will need Garcia this year, as backup Connor Shaw is struggling in spring practice.

Spurrier and Hyman will need to gather information and let the cards fall into place before a decision can be made. If the players do not trust Garcia, it may very well lead the University to cut ties with the quarterback.

This incident will cost the Gamecocks, a regular Top 10 team in the preseason polls. The question is: how long will he be suspended, and will the team still improve form last season? I say he will not play in the East Carolina game, and maybe a few games after that.

If Garcia is cut loose, the team will get behind the other quarterbacks, but they are going to need to get better quickly over the summer. Perhaps Spurrier can develop a multi-quarterback system.

Potential Wildcat formation quarterback Bruce Ellington, who transferred from the school's basketball squad, may become very important to the Gamecocks' new offensive system that must be developed for at least a few games.

Garcia's suspension may or may not cost the team in the end.

The Gamecocks are still looking forward to a great 2011 season, with or without the controversial Stephen Garcia. The first game is against East Carolina at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Spring practice wraps up on Saturday, April, 9th with the Garnet & Black Spring Game.

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