Underage drinking latest issue for South Carolina QB Garcia

Updated: March 24, 2008, 11:12 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia paid a fine for underage drinking on Monday after being arrested over the weekend, his third run-in with police in about a year.

After practice Monday night, coach Steve Spurrier said he would let the university discipline Garcia.

"We just have to wait and see," Spurrier said. "His fate is out of my hands. ... He's had a lot of chances here, and we'll see what happens."

Garcia, a 20-year-old redshirt freshman, was one of three football players arrested Saturday for underage drinking near a campus dormitory, according to campus police tickets.

"He doesn't make any excuses and did not want to put the fans and the university through this and have more negative attention brought towards him or the school," Garcia's attorney Neal Lourie said Monday.

Garcia's brother was charged with giving beer to a minor.

Garcia enrolled early at South Carolina last year to get a jump start on spring practice but was suspended from the team after two arrests. In February 2007, he was charged with drunkenness and failure to stop for a police officer. About a month later, he was charged with malicious injury to personal property after a professor reported that Garcia had used a key to scratch the man's car.

Garcia has previously successfully completed a pretrial intervention program to clear his record of misdemeanor charges.

An athletic department spokesman did not immediately know Garcia's status with the team and said coach Steve Spurrier will be available Monday night after practice.

Garcia was to miss Monday night's practice for academic reasons, spokesman Steve Fink said.

Also charged with underage drinking Saturday were offensive lineman Heath Batchelor, 20, and walk-on quarterback Zac Brindise, 19. They were scheduled to appear in court next month.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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