Arkansas Athletic director Jeff Long announced on Thursday that head coach Bobby Petrino is on paid administrative leave and no decision has been made about the coach’s future with the team. The decision to put Petrino on leave is based on recent information that has surfaced about the controversial coach.
Last Sunday, Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident. However, Petrino failed to tell anyone involved that he was not alone when he crashed. In fact, it has been reported that he was riding with a female passenger that is half his age. That other passenger is Jessica Dorrell, a former Arkansas athlete that has worked alongside Petrino.
Petrino hired Dorrell in March as the Student-Athlete Development Coordinator.
Petrino issued a statement about Dorrell and the details of the accident on Thursday.
My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public. In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.
So, what is next for the embattled head coach?
That is yet to be determined, but the Razorbacks have every reason to fire him. Petrino signed a new seven-year contract in 2010 and that contract has a clause that would allow the Razorbacks to relieve him of his duties.
The clause clearly covers questionable conduct “engaging in conduct, as solely determined by the university, which is clearly contrary to the character and responsibilities of a person occupying the position of head football coach or which negatively or adversely affects the reputation of the (university’s) athletics programs in any way.”
On the flip side of the coin, Petrino’s record with the organization is impressive. Petrino has revitalized the football program and compiled a 21-5 record over the last two years, catapulting the Razorbacks into the top of the college football rankings. This recent incident is still under review and plenty of questions remain unanswered.
If he stays on, will it have an effect on recruiting?
Is this the only thing that Petinro covered up?
The answers to those questions will likely decide the fate of the Petrino as well as the future of the Arkansas football program.
James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist and can be followed on Twitter here. Feel free to contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org