Gamecocks quarterback continues to find trouble

COLUMBIA, S.C. --- South Carolina's highly touted freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia on Monday paid a fine for underage drinking, marking his third run-in with police in about a year.

 

Garcia, 20, 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 to get a jump start on spring practice but was suspended from the team a year ago 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.

Previously, Garcia had 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 are scheduled to appear in court in April.

School telephone listings for Batchelor and Brindise were not in service.

Police responded to students' complaints of loud music in the dormitory courtyard, university spokesman Russ McKinney said.

McKinney said all three players would go through the university's student disciplinary system.

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