Something is amiss at the University of South Carolina. The revived football program under Steve Spurrier is starting to crack along the edges, like a bad Charlie Sheen video. Starting quarterback Stephen Garcia has been suspended INDEFINITELY by the school as was backup Andrew Clifford for unspecified violations of team rules. Given Garcia’s history (this is his third spring ball suspension in five years at SC) it could be for booze, but who knows? Rumors are popping up all over (we’ve heard a few outrageous ones) but either way, it puts another Spurrier program under the microscope. Can the Gamecocks take the scrutiny?
Here’s more from Yahoo Sports:
South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia, dean of SEC signal-callers with 30 career starts heading into his senior season, was conspicuously absent from the Gamecocks’ first spring practice session this afternoon, along with backup QB Andrew Clifford. Both were casualties of undisclosed violations of team rules, according to the Charleston Post & Courier, apparently “related to an incident during the team’s bowl week” in Atlanta last December.
Post & Courier beat writer Travis Haney gets more specific on Twitter: The “incident” in question involved “alcohol” and “females” in a hotel room. Garcia and Clifford are slated to miss at least the first portion of the spring. Coach Steve Spurrier declined to elaborate.
One of the things that captured the most attention during Butler’s run to the NCAA Tournament final last year was their mascot, Blue II, who is a staple at Butler home games (and some road games). The Bulldogs all pat their mascot as they’re being introduced, but the NCAA ruled that no live mascots would be allowed in arenas during the regional games. However, Butler is still overcoming the March Madness lines that are against him, and if they get far enough, Blue II may still make another appearance at the Big Dance.
The Bulldogs haven’t made things easy on themselves, as they needed a last-second putback by Matt Howard to take down Old Dominion, then they disposed of the first No.1 seed in the Tournament, Pittsburgh, in one of the craziest endings you’ll ever wish to see in a game, capped off by a converted free-throw attempt by Howard. The Bulldogs now move onto the Sweet Sixteen, where they were go up against Wisconsin in what should be another close game, but this is a battle-tested team who has been through a lot over the last two seasons, especially in the postseason. They’re not going to back down from anyone, and if they made it to Championship Monday as a fifth seed last year, they can definitely get back to the Final Four as an eighth seed.
If they return to the Final Four, the NCAA has said they would consider allowing Blue II to be a part of the festivities once again. The argument is that there isn’t a quick enough turnaround time in the regional games, and there wasn’t enough space with all the teams in the Tournament. But with four teams left, it wouldn’t be a problem, so the Bulldogs have some added motivation in their back pockets.
If you believe the Internet rumor mill (and frankly, who doesn’t anymore, right?) there is a chance that at a press conference today the University of Iowa could suspend as many as 11 players from its football team just weeks before their bowl game. Among the biggest pieces of evidence, this story from the Press-Citizen, which talks about UI’s unique drug testing policy that allows any coach to make the entire team to pee in a cup on a moment’s notice. (We’re assuming these would be individual cups and not one big one.) Those kinds of surprise tests usually come with a load of trouble.
The oddsmakers have already taken the Hawkeye’s game against No. 12 Missouri in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28 off the board, so you know something is up. Guess we’ll find out later today when the school holds a press conference.
Under the University of Iowa’s drug testing policy, any coach can request that the university administer a test for the team. “If they have a reason, they can ask their team be tested,” Iowa associate athletics director Fred Mims said. In the wake of the arrest of Iowa all-Big Ten receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos on a handful of drug-related charges, did the entire football team submit to testing? Mims would not confirm. “I’m not going to talk about that,” Mims said.
The University of Iowa tests every student-athlete at least once every school year. That’s on top of tests done by the Big Ten and the NCAA. Tests are typically done in-season for athletes, but can be done year-round. The Big Ten and the NCAA only test for performance-enhancing drugs. The tests done by UI check for all illegal substances. The program is run through University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.