Arkansas Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino hired the young woman he was having an affair with as the Student Athlete Development Coordinator, officials say, just four days before the motorcycle accident that was the catalyst for their indiscretions to be discovered.
“Coach Petrino abused his authority when over the past few weeks he made a staff decision and personal choices that benefited himself and jeopardized the integrity of the football program,” athletic director Jeff Long said at a press conference.
Petrino was put on paid leave on April 5th after a police report named Jessica Dorrell as a passenger on Petrino’s motorcycle when it crashed. School officials had previously been told Petrino, who suffered various injuries and was briefly hospitalized, was alone on the bike.
Long announced the coach’s disciplinary action last week in a press conference, saying he would have to investigate the matter further before making a final decision on Petrino’s fate.
“I am disappointed that coach Petrino did not share with me, when he had the opportunity to, the full extent of the accident and who was involved,” Long said.
The investigation turned up evidence that Petrino had been involved with Dorrell for a “significant amount of time” and that he had given her substantial cash gifts, and ultimately led to Long terminating the university’s relationship with Petrino for good last night. Petrino issued a statement afterward, apologizing to his family, his team, and Razorback fans.
“I have hurt my wife Becky and our four children,” the statement reads. “I’ve let down the University of Arkansas, my team, coaching staff and everyone associated with the Razorback football program. As a result of my personal mistakes, we will not get to finish our goal of building a championship program. I wish that I had been given the opportunity to meet with the players and staff prior to this evening’s press conference and hope that I will be given the opportunity to give my apologies and say my goodbyes in person. We have left the program in better shape than we found it and I want the Razorback Nation to know that is my hope that the program achieves the success it deserves.”
Because Petrino was fired “with cause”, the Razorbacks aren’t responsible for giving him the $18 million buyout named in his contract.