When news broke of Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle accident there might have been a little empathy for a coach who has made many enemies over the years. After all, motorcycle accidents are extremely scary and usually result in terrible injuries.
While multiple broken ribs, a neck strain, and nasty facial contusions are no laughing matter, it appears Petrino’s worst injury from that accident will be shattered pride, a devastated family, and the potential loss of his job.
After a few days of saying that he was the only rider on the motorcycle when the wreck occurred, the police report revealed a far different story. Petrino in fact had a 25-year old employee, Jessica Dorrell, in tow when he laid down the bike after losing control because of the blinding sun.
The problem is not that Petrino had a passenger or that said passenger is an attractive blonde half his age. The problem is that Petrino lied to his employer about the circumstances of the accident in a feeble attempt to cover-up an even larger transgression.
Shortly before Arkansas AD Jeff Long met with the media to discuss his decision to place Petrino on administrative leave, Arkansas released a statement from Petrino. The release read, in part, “My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public.” Petrino went on to say, “ I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.”
What makes this situation even more intriguing is the fact that Petrino hired Dorrell as his Student Athlete Development Coordinator on March 28–just four days before the accident.
The latest revelation in this case brings up many unanswered questions. How long ago did this “inappropriate relationship” begin? Did Petrino reward a mistress with a job on his staff?
There’s no need to look for an obscure morals clause in Petrino’s contract. This is not about Petrino having an affair.
At its very root, this story is all about lies, corruption, and a failed attempt at a cover-up. Petrino lied to his boss, which in turn caused his bosses in the Arkansas athletic department to pass on a lie about the circumstances surrounding the accident.
The corruption stems from a state employee rewarding his mistress with a nice, probably well-paying job on his staff.
Those two facts alone should be grounds for termination.
If you’re looking for past good deeds to help Petrino out of this mess, the only “good” thing Petrino has ever done is win. Petrino won at Louisville. Now he’s winning at Arkansas.
In between winning, however, Petrino has been anything but a stand up guy. He was part of a failed covert attempt to overthrow former boss Tommy Tuberville at Auburn while at Louisville and he left the Atlanta Falcons in midseason by means of a written note.
Petrino has the Hogs in excellent position to fight for the SEC West crown in 2012. If you have a chance to win the SEC West that usually means you’ll have a chance to play for a national title.
It will be hard for Long to terminate a winner.
It should not be hard, however, to terminate an unfaithful, lying state employee for misleading his boss and granting a promotion to his lover.