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Dorrell resigns from Arkansas amid scandal

By Staff Report

This article was published April 17, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.


Eight months after resigning her position on the Arkansas football staff, Jessica Dorrell has landed a new job after moving to South Carolina. She is shown here at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in March.

— Jessica Dorrell, whose relationship with Bobby Petrino became public knowledge and national news following a motorcycle accident earlier this month, has resigned, the University of Arkansas announced Tuesday.

Dorrell will receive a private, non-taxpayer settlement of $13,993.75 with the university to be paid within two weeks. In exchange for the settlement, Dorrell agreed to not attempt to profit from her affiliation with the Razorbacks.

The UA has no immediate plans to reopen the vacated position, which will be filled by existing staff members for the time being, according to the release.

“While Ms. Dorrell had a legitimate right to apply for and accept a position within the football program, the circumstances surrounding the former coach’s decision to hire her compromised her ability to be effective in such a position,” UA athletics director Jeff Long said. “She and I believe she should have the opportunity to move on.”

Dorrell had been on administrative leave from her job as student-athlete development coordinator.

In documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Long approved an expedited process that resulted in Dorrell's hiring last month.

Clayton Hamilton, writing on Long's behalf, requested to UA assistant director of affirmative action Danielle Wood on March 19 to waive a 30-day job posting requirement so "an individual can be identified as soon as possible."

The position was posted on Feb. 28. Interviews were completed March 12-16, and Dorrell was hired on March 20.

Dorrell started the position March 23, but she was not officially introduced by the university until March 28.

Hamilton, who is listed as the athletics department's chief financial officer, wrote, "Timeliness during the process will be essential since any delay could result in missing a critical recruiting period when prospects are identified and plans are made to invite them to our campus for a recruiting visit."

Dorrell was one of three finalists who interviewed for the position. The names of the other finalists are redacted, but the documents released include travel and interview itineraries for Ben Wilkerson and Tiffany Fields.

All three finalists for the position went through an extensive one-day interview process, meeting with eight athletics department staffers, including former head football coach, Petrino.

In his letter asking to hire Dorrell, Petrino said the former volleyball player "had the best experience and we felt like she would be the best fit for this position."

"Jessica was a former student-athlete who understands the NCAA and SEC rules and regulations with regards to recruiting," an unknown author wrote in an interview feedback. "She also knows how to relate to potential recruits since she was a former athlete at the U of A.

"She has a natural networking ability who can communicate to coaches, student-athletes and donors. Out of the three candidates, Jessica has the most overall experience of building the relationships that the football program is looking for."

Of the other two finalists, Petrino wrote: "Great candidate but not as much relevant experience as other candidates for this particular position."

Petrino was fired last week for what Long described as manipulative and misleading behavior in an attempt to cover-up an inappropriate relationship with Dorrell. Petrino also paid Dorrell $20,000 prior to her hire. According to documents obtained Friday, Dorrell used the money to purchase an Acura automobile during the first week of her employment with the football program.

The two were involved in a single motorcycle accident on April 1 causing Long to review their relationship.

In Long's letter of termination to Petrino, he wrote, "you deliberately failed to tell me that you had engaged in an extra-marital affair with Ms. Dorrell over a period of several months leading up to your recommendation to hire her. As such, you used your University position to advance your personal interests in violation of the University's policies on conflict of interest. If you had been forthcoming with me about the true nature of your relationship, I would not have approved the hiring of Ms. Dorrell for this position."

Long continued, "All of these facts, individually and collectively, are clearly contrary to the character and responsibilities of the person occupying the position of the Head Football Coach - an individual who should serve as a role model and leader for our student-athletes. Moreover, all of these facts, individually and collectively, negatively and adversely affect the reputation of the University of Arkansas as well as our athletics programs."

Dorrell listed four years of related experience on her resume for the position. Nine of the 159 candidates for the position listed at least 10 years experience.

Five applications were marked as incomplete and one candidate withdrew from consideration during the hiring process.

According to the documents, Dann Kabala resigned from the position Feb. 24.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Thank you for coming to the website of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. We're working to keep you informed with the latest breaking news.

Matt Jones in Fayetteville, Caleb Fort in Springdale and Matthew Harris in Little Rock contributed to this report.


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dmsquare says... April 17, 2012 at 7:21 p.m.

Tell me how in the world the UA paid her $14,000!!! What a crock of crap! She was wrongly hired for that job and she is lucky that the UA didn't ask her for money for being hired.

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DoWhat says... April 17, 2012 at 7:34 p.m.

Petrino showed us what he showed others. Hopefully no one else will give him a chance and if his wife stays on board she gets what she deserves.....more of him.....

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Arky56 says... April 17, 2012 at 7:39 p.m.


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glennm446208120831 says... April 17, 2012 at 7:49 p.m.

University got off lucky on this one. If she would have gotten a good lawyer she could have handed their butt to them. This is one of the positives of this horrible episode.

( | suggest removal ) says... April 17, 2012 at 7:54 p.m.

WHAT!!?? She never should have been hired, she wasn't there long enough to get her chair warm, she participated in BP's self destruction - and walks off with $14,000! (Insert various curse words here.) Gubmint entities throw away money like it was oak leaves in the back yard. I am so sick of this kind of crap.

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jeeper360 says... April 17, 2012 at 8:01 p.m.

I still think she was the one driving the motorcycle at the time of the crash. I agree that she shouldn't have gotten a dime for leaving.

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rockylittle says... April 17, 2012 at 8:03 p.m.

Makes it pretty hard to contribute to the Razorback Nation when I see $14,000
just thrown out of the window regardless of which fund was the source of this

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BETRTIMES says... April 17, 2012 at 8:24 p.m.

must be nice.. work a job less than a month, and get $14,000... I can think of several things the college could better spend the money on..

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Redlab says... April 17, 2012 at 8:27 p.m.

She hasn't even had the job a month and she is receiving $14,000, this is ludacris. She should not receive anything. People will be thinking hard before they contribute any money to Razorbacks Nation.

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SPA says... April 17, 2012 at 8:36 p.m.

"We felt she would be the best fit for the position."

Which position was that, Petrino? Let me guess....

"She has a natural networking ability...." Yeah. We know. She had a great "connection" with the coach.

It does take 2 to tango. If she's resigned, why did she get a $14 K settlement?

If I were a supporter of the "Hawgs"--and I'm not--I wouldn't give this program another dime.

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