Suspended South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia wants to return to the Gamecocks football team and will not leave the university unless he is barred from playing football next year, his father told The State on Wednesday.
“He is 100 percent returning unless the university doesn’t allow him to come back,” Gary Garcia said. “Stephen’s stance is Coach (Steve) Spurrier and South Carolina asked him to come there for a reason and that was to get an SEC Championship and possibly play for a national championship and if the university says he can come back, that’s what he’s going to do.
“He wants to finish the job Coach Spurrier asked him to do.”
Stephen Garcia has not made any public comment about his intentions since being suspended indefinitely from the football team on April 6 following an incident in which he was disruptive during a Southeastern Conference-mandated character education class attended by one-third of the football team. He will graduate from South Carolina on May 7. As a graduate, he could transfer to another FBS school next year and be immediately eligible as long as he enrolled in a graduate program not offered by South Carolina.
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Since his most recent suspension, the fifth of his college career, Stephen Garcia has attended counseling sessions with Dr. Timothy Malone, the athletic department’s director of wellness, a source with knowledge of the situation said. Malone practices adolescent, pediatric and forensic psychiatry.
“Whatever that evaluation turns out, then Stephen is going to take care of that,” a source said.
Gary Garcia said his family and his son are willing to meet almost any conditions laid out by the school as requirements to rejoin the team.
South Carolina athletics director said the decision on Garcia’s future will be made by him, Spurrier and university president Harris Pastides. Spurrier spoke last week as if he is planning on having Garcia back in 2011.
“Hopefully, it will work out that he’ll be back with us,” Spurrier said.
Garcia has been working out with current and former South Carolina wide receivers since the end of spring practice, and former Gamecock Tori Gurley said Garcia looked good and predicted he will return.
Garcia, who is third in South Carolina history in passing yards (6,753) and passing touchdowns (43), is coming off his best season on the field. He threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns with a 64.2 percent completion rate.