Bobby Petrino: Arkansas Razorbacks Must Take Time with Tough Decision

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Bobby Petrino of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The clock may be ticking for Bobby Petrino in regards to his tenure as Arkansas Razorbacks head coach. At the moment, though, the school would be wise to take its time and figure everything out before it decides whether or not to fire Petrino. 

A coach having an affair is one thing, but in the eyes of the program, a coach lying to his employer is much worse. It's not going to be easy, but the Razorbacks have to make sure they're making the best decision for their program, which means they need to take their time. 

According to Robby Neiswanger of Arkansas News Bureau, Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident over a week ago. 

He was having a "inappropriate relationship" with a woman named Jessica Dorrell. On March 28, Petrino hired the 25-year-old Arkansas alum to work as the student-athlete development coordinator.

She was on the motorcycle with Petrino when it crashed, but instead of telling the truth to his bosses, he decided to leave out the details of Dorrell being a passenger. Arkansas ended up looking foolish when it said nobody else was with him, only to find out just before the police report became public that there was indeed someone with Petrino at the time of the accident.  

And as Neiswanger states in his report, Arkansas placed Petrino on paid administrative leave. 

It's an embarrassing situation for the Razorbacks, but they're doing the right thing by investigating everything first. A quick and brash move would have been the wrong call.

Still, they have to make sure they've gathered all the information before the final decision is made.

On Saturday, Neiswanger tweeted a quote from Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long about what his plans were.

Jeff Long through a spokesperson on Petrino situation: "The review is ongoing and will continue throughout the weekend."

— Robbie Neiswanger (@NWARobbie) April 7, 2012

Now that it's Monday, it doesn't mean Long and his staff have to divulge their findings, or whether or not Petrino's job is safe. 

There is plenty of time to sort all of this out and the best move for Arkansas would be to announce Petrino's fate at the appropriate time. Of course, it remains uncertain when exactly that will be, but rushing the decision would be bad for all parties. 

Petrino has been very successful at Arkansas, going 34-17 in four years and helping the program bring in a great deal of money as well.

Unfortunately for him and Arkansas, he's now involved in an HR nightmare that could result in him losing his job. Since Petrino does help the team win, which results in more revenue, it makes Long's choice to keep or fire him that much more difficult. 

Arkansas has been working on a new multimillion dollar practice facility that still needs money to be fully paid off. To acquire that, the Razorbacks have to do fundraising, but it's tough to know if those providing the money are supporting Petrino at this time. 

One would think folks would continue to help pay for the facility because it will help the team in the future, but according to Chris Bahn of, Petrino was the one that asked for it to be built. Since that's the case, Arkansas must now find out if people are essentially willing to hand over money to a liar. 

Petrino can feel good that some fans are choosing to support him, launching a Facebook page in his honor. They're even planning a rally on Monday to further show their support, according to Chris Bahn of

Long and his staff have an incredibly tough job right now, dealing with this whole scandal. But taking their time to ensure the right decision is made is the best approach for Arkansas. 


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