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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:39 PM ET, 04/10/2012

Bobby Petrino: ‘Save Our Coach’ rally draws modest support from Arkansas football fans


Sylvia Schlegel, right center, thinks Bobby Petrino deserves another chance. Schlegel told a reporter, "if you're a Christian, you need to forgive." (April L Brown - AP)

Bobby Petrino’s fate as head football coach at Arkansas remains up in the air one week after he crashed his motorcycle and attempted to cover-up a “inappropriate relationship” with a 25-year-old female employee.

Now Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long faces the unenviable decision of whether to retain Petrino and risk ridicule for appearing to condone his conduct, or terminate him and risk revolt from the Razorbacks fanbase.

It seems clear what many of the school’s fans want — as evidenced by the more than 21,000 members of a new Facebook group called “Team Save Coach Petrino.” But at an on-campus rally on Monday, only about 200 people showed up to support the embattled coach.

A non-scientific poll conducted on the Early Lead on Monday (included below), shows readers at a near 50-50 split on the question of whether Petrino should be fired.


Ron Anderson, left, of Gravel Ridge, Ark., and Chance Blessing, right, of Fayetteville, Ark., show their support at Monday’s rally. (April L Brown - AP)

“We’re not condoning it. I wouldn’t ask him for marriage counseling,” rally organizer Matt Couch told ArkansasSports360.com on Monday. “But at the same time we’re supportive of him and want him to do well.”

Petrino, 51, crashed his motorcycle on the night of Sunday, April 1 in Madison County, Ark. But only days later, after police reports were made public, did he acknowledge 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell was with him on the bike. On Thursday, Petrino — who is married with four children — was placed on paid administrative leave by the school and admitted a “previous inappropriate relationship” with Dorrell, a former Arkansas volleyball player and recent hire by the athletic department.

On Friday, more details of the accident emerged. According to state police reports, Petrino and Dorrell told a passer-by not to call 911, and instead caught a ride back to Fayetteville. There, Dorrell was dropped off at her own car and Petrino was driven to a hospital by Capt. Lance King, a police officer who serves as Petrino’s personal security guard during the season, where he was treated for broken ribs and a cracked vertebra. Petrino was subsequently placed on administrative leave by the school.

Petrino has led the Razorbacks to a 21-5 record over the last two seasons including a 11-2 mark in 2011. A second rally is planned for Friday at 6:30 p.m., according to the group’s Facebook page.

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More

Poll: Should Arkansas fire Bobby Petrino?

Arkansas AD: Petrino review ongoing

Razorbacks try to maintain focus in wake of Petrino revelation

Arkansas puts Bobby Petrino on leave after learning of “previous inappropriate relationship” with female employee

Petrino injured in motorcycle crash

She the People: Petrino should have learned from Bill Clinton

By  |  12:39 PM ET, 04/10/2012

 
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