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Petrino suspended following crash revelations

By Matt Jones

This article was published April 5, 2012 at 9:18 p.m.

arkansas-football-coach-bobby-petrino-left-was-placed-on-paid-administrative-leave-on-thursday-by-ua-athletics-director-jeff-long-right-after-petrino-lied-about-details-surrounding-his-motorcycle-accident-last-sunday-ap-photos

Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino (left) was placed on paid administrative leave on Thursday by UA athletics director Jeff Long (right) after Petrino lied about details surrounding his motorcycle accident last Sunday. (AP Photos)

A woman identified as Jessica Dorrell on the University of Arkansas athletics website.

Bobby Petrino's Harley-Davidson motorcycle following an accident on Sunday.

Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino speaks during a news conference in Fayetteville on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, after being released from a hospital....

Jessica Dorrell and University of Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino appear together in this Feb. 23 file photograph at Searcy High School during a meeting ...

Jeff Long - Bobby Petrino Suspension

Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long addresses Bobby Petrino's suspension as Razorbacks head footba...

Petrino statement

“The state police report today provides an accurate description of my accident, which includes details that had not publically come to light prior to the report being issued. I regret that I have not publically acknowledged a passenger on the vehicle. I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell’s name being revealed. In my press conference, I referred to her simply as ‘a lady’. 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.

I apologize to my wife, Becky, and our four children, Chancellor (David) Gearhart, Jeff Long, the Board of Trustees, University administration, my coaching staff, student-athletes and the entire state of Arkansas. I have been humbled by the outpouring of concern and get-well wishes. I apologize to the Razorback Nation for the attention my actions have brought to the University of Arkansas and our program. I will fully cooperate with the University throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my Athletic Director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.”

— Bobby Petrino has been placed on paid leave following the release of a police report that revealed that he had a 25-year-old female employee with him on his motorcycle during a Sunday crash.

Speaking at a late night press conference Thursday, Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said he will conduct a review of Petrino. The review will determine whether he will remain employed by the university.

Petrino has a contractual termination clause for “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 or UAF’s Athletics Programs in any way.”

Taver Johnson, who was hired as linebackers coach in January, will serve as interim coach in Petrino's absence.

"Any time we have a coach who makes a misstep, it's disappointing to me," Long said. "We have high expectations of every coach and staffer."

Long said he spoke with Petrino shortly before a state police report was released Thursday afternoon and informed the coach of his decision later Thursday night.

Jessica Dorrell, who was hired last week to an administrative role within the Arkansas football department, was on the back of Petrino's motorcycle when it crashed Sunday in Madison County, according to the accident report released by the Arkansas State Police.

The report contradicted a statement made by the Petrino family through the University of Arkansas athletics media relations office on Monday stating the Razorbacks' football coach was the only individual involved in the accident. Petrino crashed his Harley-Davidson around 6:45 p.m. Sunday on Arkansas 16 near the rural community of Crosses, about 23 miles southeast of Fayetteville.

"He admitted that he had not been totally forthcoming and forthright with me about the accident," Long said. "He shared with me the reasons why he didn't share the information."

Petrino didn't speak Thursday night, but did release a statement through the university's media relations office.

"The state police report today provides an accurate description of my accident, which includes details that had not publicly come to light prior to the report being issued," Petrino wrote. "I regret that I have not publicly acknowledged a passenger on the vehicle.

"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.

"I will fully cooperate with the University throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my athletic director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks."

According to the report, Petrino and Dorrell were picked up by Benjamin Adam Williams, Jody Diane Stewart and Williams' 12-year-old son, all of Ozark. Petrino and Dorrell were transported to the intersection of Huntsville Road and Crossover Road in east Fayetteville, where Dorrell departed the vehicle.

Petrino was met there by Capt. Lance King, an Arkansas state trooper who serves as his security detail during football season, and transported to Physicians' Specialty Hospital in Fayetteville. King is also the commander of Arkansas State Police Troop L, based in Springdale.

Petrino suffered four broken ribs, a neck sprain and a cracked vertebrae in the accident, he said Tuesday. Dorrell was not injured, according to the report. Neither was cited by police for the accident.

Dorrell is a former volleyball player at the UA and had previously worked for The Razorback Foundation Inc., the university's private fundraising arm. She was hired as student-athlete development coordinator for football on March 28.

Petrino is 34-17 in four seasons at Arkansas, increasing his win total in each season at the school. He led the Razorbacks to an 11-2 record in 2011, tying the school record for most wins in a season and finishing the year ranked No. 5 nationally.

Since his hiring, Arkansas' football program has seen a significant spike in donation levels, allowing for the construction of a $40.35 million operations center to be completed next year and a proposed future expansion to the north side of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The program's assistant coaches have also received pay raises following each of the last two seasons.

The Razorbacks were ranked by Forbes magazine as the eighth-most valuable college football program last year at more than $80 million.

Petrino agreed to a seven-year contract in December 2011 that pays him $3.56 million annually. The contract has a mutual buyout clause that began at $18 million for the first two years of the agreement, but it can be waived for breach of contract.

Comments on: Petrino suspended following crash revelations

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RoyDaMercer says... April 5, 2012 at 10:33 p.m.

Money and ego make you think you are invincible:
Jack Welch, Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Bobby Petrino, most of Hollywood, Wilbur Mills, Eliot Spitzer, etc, etc, etc
Pure stupidity

( | suggest removal )

Ran2133 says... April 5, 2012 at 10:58 p.m.

A HUGE error in judgement by Coach Petrino. This will probably not affect his coaching ability but it will seriously damage his reputation as a husband. How can supposedly intelligent people be so "stupid." Even if there was nothing inappropriate going on it sure does give the appearance of impropriety.

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T6 says... April 5, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.

He's got alot of splainin to do!
~ Might the previous inappropriate relationship be one Jessica Dorrell?

( | suggest removal )

screamc says... April 5, 2012 at 11:13 p.m.

No one knows anything about their "relationship" i have a bike and have taken quite a few girls for a bike ride. Leave the man alone a stop making assumptions

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T6 says... April 5, 2012 at 11:35 p.m.

The man does not lie very well.
Example:He said " 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."
~
Why would he admit to a previous relationship because he was in an accident with this girl? How would being in an accident with Jessica reveal another relationship? No one would know about a previous one IF he hadn't said something. He needs to come clean. Jessica is that previous relationship.

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augiehogfan says... April 5, 2012 at 11:46 p.m.

I don't know about Bobby Petrino; we probably still don't have all the facts. What I do know is that we have a first-class Athletic Director running the show, and I believe he will make the right decision for all involved, even if it turns out to be unpopular. He was impressive in this press conference in a very difficult situation.

( | suggest removal )

RBBrittain says... April 5, 2012 at 11:48 p.m.

@Razorbacosanostra: Warren Buffett doesn't belong on your list as his first wife clearly condoned his affair; she introduced them when she left him in 1977, the three were seen together and signed Xmas cards together, and the wife even discussed it on Charlie Rose before dying of cancer in 2004. (He married his former mistress in 2006.) Not to mention "most of Hollywood" doesn't even bother to cover up their affairs anymore (i.e., Brangelina). In most cases in the public eye (Mills, Clinton, Spitzer, and yes Petrino), it's the cover-up that gets you more than the actual affair.

( | suggest removal )

racinghoman01040838 says... April 5, 2012 at 11:52 p.m.

She is awfull pretty ....... But Morals and Standards . you aint supposed to get caught .Might be nothing to it as far as she is concerned... but it sure dont look good .

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RBBrittain says... April 6, 2012 at midnight

I might add that despite openly keeping a mistress, Buffett never divorced his first wife; in fact, until she died first he intended to leave his entire fortune to her.

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Lesterday says... April 6, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.

I really wouldn't say this is a "previous" relationship as it appears to be in "real time". If Jessica was the previous relationship why would she be bike riding with Pettrino on Sunday--sounds fishy to me. Also if this relationship was previous, why would he hire her to work around him----and you cant tell me that some of his cohorts did not know about this as few people can keep this a secret. VIBES!!!!

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