As everyone has been able to swallow the news of South Carolina Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia’s indefinite suspension, the new question is what happens next?
Many Gamecock fans are tired of the fifth-year senior’s actions while others believe he should be given another chance. Some still refuse to believe that Garcia might have a problem or accept that Garcia never lived up to his potential.
However, some people believe that Garcia should be reinstated in time for the 2011 season, simply because the team won’t be as successful otherwise.
For life-long Gamecock fans, this season potentially could be the program’s best, attempting to defend its SEC East title from a year ago. Many people believe that no Garcia means no title defense opportunity.
If you reinstate Garcia just to ensure that this football team lives up to its 2011 predictions, it would be time to take a strong look at South Carolina’s priorities.
This would just further a divide that demonstrates that players are put on different levels. If you are a key contributor, you can get away with things five times. If you barely are a special teams player, you might get one shot.
Garcia must be treated like he is any other player. In addition, it is important that Athletics Director Eric Hyman, Head Coach Steve Spurrier, and South Carolina President Harris Pastides work together to create a reinstatement program that gets Garcia the help he needs, while not bringing any shame to South Carolina any more.
I ultimately believe Garcia will be reinstated. However, there must be strict guidelines that include counseling sessions, anger management, and leadership training. Regardless of whether Garcia has an alcohol problem or not, he needs help.
There also is one final part to this reinstatement plan, if he brings any shame to the University of South Carolina in any way, it brings an immediate dismissal from the football team with no option to return.
The final move that Spurrier must do is name some other quarterback the starter. Sophomore Connor Shaw would appear to be the likely candidate. In order to regain his starting job, Garcia must prove like anyone else that he deserves it. Even then, starting someone else, at the very least in the opener against East Carolina, would be a smart move.
No one wanted to see Garcia end his career at South Carolina the same way he began: suspended. However, South Carolina has shown everyone that Garcia is not just anybody else, and for some reason deserves five to six chances. Therefore, why should we expect how they handle him to change.
If South Carolina were to reinstate Garcia, just make sure it is for the right reason, not just because you fear disappointing fans and prognosticators in the fall.
By the way, isn’t this starting to sound a lot like the Weslye Saunders situation from last year?