Much has been written and said regarding University of Arkansas head football Bobby Petrino and the unfolding scandal surrounding a motorcycle accident that led to the coach lying to his family, his superiors and the public.
On Thursday evening, UA Athletic Director Jeff Long placed Petrino on paid leave while he conducts a review of the entire ordeal.
We’ve rounded up several notable accounts on the subject that offer insight on the matter:
KFSM 5News/The City Wire:
Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino has been placed on paid administrative leave while University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long investigates details of an April 1 motorcycle wreck involving Petrino and a female staffer of the athletic department.
Jessica Dorrell, 25, of Elkins, was on the motorcycle with Arkansas football Coach Bobby Petrino when it crashed Sunday, an Arkansas State Police report released Thursday says.
Coach Petrino said Tuesday he was alone when he crashed his motorcycle on Highway 16 near the Crosses community in Madison County Sunday evening.
Contacted by telephone Thursday, Dorrell told 5NEWS, “I’m not ready to comment at this time.”
On March 28, Dorrell was named a Student-Athlete Development Coordinator, according to a media release from the University. She’s also a former member of the Razorback volleyball team. More at this link.
The Arkansas Times:
Petrino lied about circumstances of his motorcycle accident by repeatedly saying he was alone. In fact, he had a staff member, Jessica Dorrell, on the back of his Harley Davidson when he crashed on a countryside pleasure ride. He’s now admitted that and also revealed an inappropriate relationship of some sort with someone in his past for which he’s trying to make amends with his family. He mentioned this in saying he’d tried to protect Dorrell from exposure in his accident by not telling the truth.
AT blog chief Max Brantley examines the university’s policy regarding sexual relationships between employees and supervisors.
Consensual sexual relationships between faculty and their students or between supervisors and their employees in some instances may result in charges of sexual harassment.
Consensual relationships may lead other faculty and students or supervisors and coworkers to question the validity of grades, evaluations, and other interactions between the people involved in such a relationship. The integrity of the work of both people in the relationship may be compromised. …
More at this link.
David Raath, Fox 16 News sports director
Raath tells Talk Business that the state of Arkansas’ employment policies do not prohibit consensual sexual relationships between state employees or their supervisors.
“The state says there is no law prohibiting a state employee from hiring a romantic partner or having a romantic relationship with a subordinate,” Raath says.
However, Raath says Petrino’s contract does have a clause that addresses personal conduct. “It is totally open to the interpretation of the school,” Raath contends.
Raath will be a guest on Talk Business this Sunday night to discuss the Petrino situation and Long’s potential options. Catch more of his reporting here.
Op-ed by Talk Business editor Roby Brock for The City Wire:
The Petrino Betrayal
It’s as classic as a Hollywood plot line.
A popular public figure secretly takes up with a young woman betraying his wife, family and loyal followers. Through happenstance, an accident sets off a chain of events that ultimately reveals deception, lies, and a cover-up.
The storyline always has that twist.
University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle accident has unraveled into a tale that even his worst enemies couldn’t have predicted.
For a disciplinarian who preaches against distraction, he’s created an enormous one, perhaps an insurmountable one.
UA Athletic Director Jeff Long has a Solomon’s task if he wants to keep the successful coach. He’ll need the patience of Job if he dismisses him and starts from scratch.
The conundrum for Long, Petrino, the University of Arkansas, and the Razorback Nation is that Petrino staying or leaving offers negative consequences.
If Petrino goes, the state psyche is yet bruised again with a restored football program that has been a source of tremendous pride for a state known for its low self-esteem.
If he stays, a fractured fan base likely remains. We’ve seen how that works with morale in the recent past.
I’m not passing judgment on Petrino’s “previous inappropriate relationship.” People do things that defy explanation at times. How Petrino, his wife and family choose to reconcile his transgressions is a private matter to me.
But there are elements to this story that require public judgment.
The lack of full disclosure; Misleading your superiors; Misleading the public. And there is also the potential liability to which he may have exposed the University of Arkansas.
Petrino’s problems could present legal repercussions for him based on school policies. Long’s “review” will certainly thoroughly delve into this aspect of the ordeal.
However, Petrino’s biggest problem will be his credibility. With his players, recruits and their parents. With his boss. With the public. It’s the lifeblood of his livelihood.
We’ve forgiven young men and women, who in their youth have committed indiscretions owing to their age and maturity.
Should a 51-year old man near the absolute pinnacle of success and at the height of responsibility for a state investment in money, lives and spirit have the same second chance?
Petrino hurt a lot of people — including himself — both physically and emotionally. But his credibility and leadership may be irreparably harmed.