The plot has most certainly thickened.
Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino crashed his motorcycle on Sunday, and although he suffered somewhat significant injuries including cracked vertebrae, four broken ribs and a seriously beat-up mug, he was able to give a press conference on Tuesday. Considering he wasn’t wearing a helmet, this was about the best possible outcome one could ask for following a serious crash.
The crash, however, suddenly has taken a much different turn and questions have surfaced that stretch beyond Petrino’s health following the spill. According to the police report, which was published by the Arkansas Times, Petrino was not alone on his bike as he and the university had described.
Arkansas released the following statement earlier this week, per Sports Illustrated:
Coach Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident on Sunday evening that involved no other individuals. He is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. Our family appreciates respect for our privacy during the recovery and we are grateful for the thoughts of Razorback fans at this time.
Not so fast, my friend.
According to the police report, 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell was on the back of Petrino’s motorcycle at the time of the crash. As if this development wasn’t curious enough, Dorrell just started her job working as the student-athlete coordinator for the Arkansas football team a week ago.
While this means nothing at the moment, she just so happens to be engaged to Josh Morgan, the director of swimming and diving operations at Arkansas. Petrino, for those of you curious (and many of you likely are), is married.
Arkansas media outlets have since reached out to Dorrell and she provided "no comment."
And with that, the speculation train is already running wild. If you were to head over to Twitter and type "Petrino" into the search area, you would be absolutely bombarded with what you’d expect in a situation like this. Someone stumbled upon Dorrell’s wedding guestbook, which has also been consumed by the ridiculous and absurd. (It’s also now incredibly long, and has gotten really absurd).
There is much to be determined in this sudden PR nightmare, and very little is known at the moment. We do know, however, that either Petrino or the university provided false information regarding their initial statement. It’s unknown at this point where this disconnect took place and if the school even knew of Dorrell’s presence. That’s a question Arkansas will have to answer sooner rather than later.
The misinformation is what certainly jumps out knowing the little we do right now. Well, that and the fact that he was riding around with a 25-year-old female, which isn’t typically part of a Sunday joyride.
This, however, could be absolutely harmless—or perhaps it’s not. The fact of the matter is we just don’t know. It’s convenient to assume the absolute worst (or most newsworthy), but it’s also not fair to the parties involved. The cyber mob couldn't give a damn about "fair" with an exploding story like this and would rather run wild with the wildest thoughts that come to mind.
Regardless, the spotlight is about to get incredibly bright. Bobby Petrino has been in the national media for a variety of reasons over the past decade or so. Jessica Dorrell is about to see just what that is like.
Until we know more, however, it would be reckless to assume otherwise. We do know that both the university and Petrino owe explanations. They got it wrong on the first go ‘round, and we’ll find out shortly what they have to say in Round 2. This situation (while hazy) highlights a theme that seems to be all too common with the NCAA in recent years. The cover-up can be worse than the situation itself, and although we don't know the extent of the cover-up, the situation is now being exposed after the fact.
There's smoke (serious, serious smoke), and we're about to find out the extent of the fire.