They may still be a force in the SEC, but they must do it without the man who led them to this point.
On Tuesday night, the school fired head coach Bobby Petrino after he attempted to conceal, and later admitted to an “inappropriate relationship” with a recently hired 25-year-old employee.
As the story unfolded after Petrino crashed his motorcycle 10 days ago, the Razorback faithful came to their coach’s defense, rallying to show support and pleading with the administration to forgive and move forward. But in the end, Petrino accepted the fate he earned.
In an emotional media address Thursday, (athletic director) Long revealed the stunning depth of Petrino’s deception, slamming the 51-year-old married father of four for his decisions leading up to and after the accident.
“He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program,” Long said. “In short, Coach Petrino engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident.”
According to Long, Petrino’s relationship with the 25-year-old recent hire, Jessica Dorrell, lasted a “significant” amount of time, and at one point, Petrino gave her $20,000 out of his own pocket as a “gift.”
Dorrell, a former Razorbacks volleyball player, was hired by Petrino on March 28, only four days before both were involved in the motorcycle crash on a rural road outside of the city. Long said she was one of three finalists among a pool of 159 applicants, and was given the job in an unusually quick process. Dorrell, who reportedly called off an engagement one week before the accident, has hired a lawyer and could sue for sexual harassment. Under the school’s sexual harassment policy, even “consensual sexual relationships between faculty and their students or between supervisors and their employees in some instances may result in charges of sexual harassment.”
A state trooper who help Petrino get to the hospital after his crash and alerted him to a damning police report that was later released was placed on leave. As the Associated Press explained:
The state trooper assigned to protect Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino said he took a call from an unidentified woman to come get the injured coach, then fielded a call from the coach’s wife as they were pulling into the hospital, according to a memo released Monday.