- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia will be allowed to participate in voluntary summer workouts with the football team, the school announced Monday.
Garcia had been indefinitely suspended from the program since April 6, after sources told ESPN.com's Chris Low that Garcia was disruptive and loud at a mandatory leadership seminar. According to the sources, alcohol could be detected on Garcia's breath and he was asked to leave.
Garcia later admitted to South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier that he had been drinking before the event while celebrating teammate Kyle Nunn's birthday, the sources said.
It was the fifth time Garcia, a fifth-year senior, had been suspended by the team.
"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," Spurrier said in a statement released by the university. "We will give him another chance and hopefully he can do the right things and represent the university in a first-class manner."
Garcia was also suspended for the first week of spring practice by Spurrier for violating undisclosed team rules during the Gamecocks'
trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Shortly after, Garcia pledged that he would be smarter about his actions and that there would be no more incidents involving him.
Garcia's first three suspensions were related to incidents with the law. He had two misdemeanor arrests during his first two months on campus as a freshman. A third arrest a year later prevented him from working out with the team for more than four months.
"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," South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman said. "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."
After Garcia was suspended indefinitely, sophomore Connor Shaw replaced him in the spring lineup. Shaw was 17-of-27 passing for 176 yards and a touchdown. During his freshman year, Shaw threw just 33 times in nine appearances.
Garcia's status will be evaluated again before the start of fall camp. The team is scheduled to report to camp on August 2, with the first full squad workout set for August 3.
Garcia has started 28 consecutive games for the Gamecocks and is 17-13 as a starter. He earned a bachelors degree in sociology from the university in May.
The Gamecocks are coming off a 9-5 season in which they captured the SEC Eastern Division title for the first time in school history.
Edward Aschoff covers the SEC for ESPN.com.
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