After being suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team Stephen Garcia has been allowed to participate in summer workouts for the South Carolina Gamecocks. If you look at his production on the field his reinstatement is not surprising. Garcia led the Gamecocks to the SEC East championship and has consistently been USC's best player. If you look at his problems off the field the decision is troubling.
Stephen Garcia has been suspended or kicked off the team 5 times for off the field incidents, one of them as recently as 2 months ago. You would think that with a multitude of infractions and violations committed against the university and the state of South Carolina Garcia would never see the field again. Why the sudden change of heart?
SEC FOOTBALL IS SERIOUS! The South Carolina alumni wouldn't stand back and watch their team lose because a few rules were broken by their star quarterback. Winning is everything in the SEC and unless Garcia did irreparable damage to a person, place, or thing there's no reason (in the minds of the fans) to keep the Gamecocks best player in street clothes. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and back up Conner Shaw looked shaky at best in his previous performances.
The message being sent by South Carolina is a dangerous one. I'm all about superstar preferential treatment, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. If the rules can be bent or twisted to accommodate the star players why have them at all? Why not tell the entire team that punishments being handed down are subject to your performance? This is how programs get themselves into trouble by facilitating an environment where certain players are above the law. It is inevitable that players will push the envelope until the boundaries of right and wrong no longer exist. The SEC has always played by their own rules. Stephen Garcia is just the latest example of that.