Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably learned by now that Stephen Garcia has been dismissed from the South Carolina football team, apparently because a failed test violated a zero-tolerance substance-abuse condition that he's been under since last spring. I have a few thoughts I'd like to share about this scenario.
First of all, you're probably going to hear a lot speculation--most of it coming from Pickens Co. and Athens, GA--that we're only parting ways with Garcia now because we've found another option at QB. Don't believe it. First of all, this was Eric Hyman's decision, not Steve Spurrier's. It has nothing to do with Spurrier's roster management. Second of all, there's simply a better explanation for what happened. Garcia was beholden to a zero-tolerance policy as a condition of remaining on the team after his last disciplinary incident. One can assume that his main purpose for staying sober since then has been to retain his chance to be his team's starting QB. That ship sailed this past Saturday when Connor Shaw lit up Kentucky. With no further motivation to stay sober, Garcia probably partied a bit over the weekend and failed his drug test. Seems simple enough to me. Sometimes you don't need conspiracy theories, people.
Second of all, what has happened with Garcia has to be one of the sadder things I've witnessed as a sports fan. This is a guy who had all the potential in the world and had a legitimate chance to be the best QB in USC history as well as an All-SEC type player in college football's best conference. All he had to do was keep his nose a bit cleaner. Heck, despite all his problems, he will still go down in USC history as one of our best all-time QBs. Just think what could have been, though.
Now, Garcia has life to deal with. I don't know what kinds of problems he's dealing with or why he seems to have so much trouble keeping it together. He seems to be a good kid, deep down. If he wasn't, he likely wouldn't be as beloved by his teammates as he is. I just hope that he solves his problems and moves on. It's not going to get any easier from here. Good luck, pal.
Last but not least, in the midst of rampant Garcia- and Spurrier-bashing, we should all remember that Garcia was, on his good days, quite the QB for us. That's what I'd prefer to remember him for. Therefore, I'd like to post a highlight reel from 2010, when he was one of the SEC's top QBs.
Stephen, thanks for contributing to three of my favorite all-time Gamecocks moments, the 2009 win over Clemson and the 2010 wins over 'Bama and Florida. And thanks for contributing to USC's first-ever SEC East Championship.
All of that said, it's time to move on. The Garcia saga has been a long, bizarre road. After what happened today, a fanbase that could use a little normalcy should now have a bit of closure to enjoy.