By Josh Rogers
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., – As the Bobby Petrino saga continues to unfold, things are not getting any easier, or better, for the folks in Fayetteville. It all started on April 3rd when multiple sources had reported that Petrino was involved in single vehicle motorcycle wreck. His injuries were reported as somewhat severe, but not life-threatening. What wasn’t reported was that a mistress, cover-up, and many other details were involved.
On April 11th, Petrino was fired as head football coach at the University of Arkansas by AD Jeff Long. Long stated that Petrino made a “conscious” decision to deceive and manipulate the University and its affiliates. After the accident, it was discovered that Petrino’s had “hired” a mistress, 25 year0old Jessica Dorrell, who was also involved in the crash, and was carrying on inappropriate relations with her for a “significant” amount of time. Petrino, a married man and father of 4, reportedly paid Ms. Dorrell amounts of money up to $20,000. Ms. Dorrell was an employee of the University and worked as a “Razorback Foundation Fundraiser”, making around $55,000 a year, and is also a former volleyball player at the University. Because Petrino was fired “with cause”, he stands to lose $18 million in buyout money over the course of his 7 year contract with the University.
Forgoing the option to do so in his contract, Petrino released a statement on Friday that he will not appeal his firing from the University of Arkansas. Petrino has publicly apologized and said that he has cut off all relations with Ms. Dorrell. Petrino’s text message conversations with AD Jeff Long have also been released to the public through a Freedom of Information Act request. The text messages make it clear hat Petrino was deceiving Long and was not telling the whole story. Petrino even blatantly asked at one point, “is the mood to fire me?”
Ms. Dorrell has also been placed on leave by the University.
So where does Arkansas go from here? Most would agree that AD Jeff Long had no option but to fire Petrino, but the fact remains that Petrino was an excellent football coach who had Arkansas competing for BCS appearance year in and year out. The players know that nothing has changed and that the best is still expected from them, but Long must find a replacement soon. If he does not, then the wheels could come off the bus in Fayetteville. Names are being tossed around, but many think that it would be smarter to hire someone in-house so there is no radical change in the way things are run with spring practice drawing to a close.
One thing is for certain. Arkasnas will be expected to win, no matter the circumstances.