Senior quarterback Stephen Garcia has been partially reinstated and will be allowed to participate in voluntary summer workouts with the football team, the school announced Monday.
Garcia had been serving an indefinite suspension from the program since April 6.
Head coach Steve Spurrier has hinted the last few weeks that Garcia would be allowed to take part in summer workouts while he continues to work to meet goals to win full reinstatement. The workouts start Wednesday.
“Stephen is returning to the team on a probationary basis and still has to do some things here for the next two or three months to prove himself worthy of being a student-athlete at South Carolina,” head coach Steve Spurrier said in a statement. “We will give him another chance and hopefully he can do the right things and represent the University in a first-class manner.”
Spurrier has said the Tampa-area native was meeting the requirements needed to rejoin the team. Allowing Garcia to participate in summer workouts after missing the spring game because of his suspension appears to be a reward for the quarterback’s progress.
Garcia’s status will be evaluated again prior to the start of fall camp. The team is scheduled to report to camp on Tuesday, August 2, with the first full squad workout set for Wednesday, August 3.
"Our main goal for Stephen at this time is to assist him in developing the decision-making skills that are needed for managing life in general, whether as a student-athlete, a person, an employee, a spouse or a parent," Athletics Director Eric Hyman said in a statement. "With assistance from others, we have developed a list of measurable guidelines for Stephen to follow.
"I want to make it clear those guidelines, which will remain confidential, are designed to help him live a successful life and are not some trivial hoops for him to jump through in order to find a way to reinstate him," Hyman said. "So the ball clearly rests in Stephen Garcia’s hands.”
Garcia has started 28 consecutive games for the Gamecocks and owns an overall record of 17-13 as a starter. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University in May.
Garcia has been on indefinite suspension the past two months for his behavior at an SEC violence-prevention seminar. He has been suspended five times since joining the Gamecocks, including for charges of drunkenness and vandalism, as well as reportedly for having a girl in his hotel room before this year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.
The school has not disclosed the conditions Garcia must meet to play his final season. Garcia has attended counseling sessions with Dr. Timothy Malone, the athletics department’s director of wellness, a source with knowledge of the situation told The State last month.
Many USC fans have clamored for Garcia’s return as the football team looks to defend its East Division crown and win its first SEC title in what will be the squad’s 20th season in the conference.
Spurrier said Garcia will have to battle backup Connor Shaw to regain his starting job.