Bobby Petrino was fired Tuesday after four seasons as the Arkansas football… (Wesley Hitt / Getty Images )
Bobby Petrino was dismissed as coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks on Tuesday for what athletic director Jeff Long described as "misleading and manipulative behavior."
It's hard to disagree with that assessment of the football coach's actions after hearing Long's lengthy list of Petrino's misdeeds -- including hiring a woman with whom he'd had an affair and intentionally misleading Long about the secret relationship.
Petrino, a 51-year-old married father of four, maintained an inappropriate relationship with Jessica Dorrell, a 25-year-old former Razorbacks volleyball player, for a "significant" amount of time, according to Long. The athletic director also said Petrino once gave Dorrell $20,000, a "gift" that was confirmed by both Petrino and Dorrell, for unspecified reasons.
All of this came to light following a motorcycle crash involving Petrino and Dorrell on April 1, four days after Dorrell was hired by Petrino as the student-athlete development coordinator for Arkansas football.
“He made the decision, a conscious decision, to mislead the public on Tuesday, and in doing so negatively and adversely 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.”
Petrino issued a lengthy statement Tuesday night, apologizing to the university, the team and especially his family for his "selfish decisions." He said his sole focus will be to make amends with his family.
He also said, "As a result of my personal mistakes, we will not get to finish our goal of building a championship program," which brings up a good point. He definitely had the Razorbacks pointed in the right direction, with a 34-17 record in four seasons, a No. 5 final ranking last season and a Cotton Bowl win over Kansas State.
So if Petrino was brought in to lead the program to a national championship, was firing him the right move? Would a less extreme punishment, such as a suspension or a fine, have been more appropriate? He definitely did not serve as a proper role model for his young players, but he also might have given those players their best chance at fulfilling their football dreams.
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