LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – The Jessica Dorrell Arkansas affair ended with Bobby Petrino wrecking not just his bike but also his coaching contract. Jessica Dorrell was Bobby Petrino’s mistress, an affair that lasted for some time, Arkansas officials finally claim to news last night in firing Petrino. Since the scandal erupted on April 1, 2012, Arkansas has been cautious to label what happened between Dorrell and Petrino. Last night, Arkansas didn’t hold back, claiming Petrino hired his alleged mistress as his employee and carried on an inappropriate relationship for a “significant” amount of time with Dorrell, even giving her $20,000 cash; then, when the two crashed on his bike, he tried to cover up her involvement.
On April 1, 2012, Bobby Petrino was a married man, with a $3.6 million annual contract, the support of his university, and a Harley Davidson bike. Today, Petrino is out of a job, won’t get paid his annual salary, has lost the support of his university, and has a wrecked bike in his wife’s garage. Petrino carried on behind his wife, Becky Petrino’s wife, an inappropriate affair with a university staffer, engaged to another man, Arkansas claimed last night.
Athletic director Jeff Long fired Bobby Petrino Monday night, with cause, preventing any payment of the university to Petrino of his $18 million buyout provision. Despite erroneous reports surfacing late yesterday, Arkansas confirmed it made no attempt to keep Petrino as their coach on Monday.
Long said that Petrino set up a web of deception against his University. He claims that web started at least on March 28. That day, Petrino hired Dorrell as his Student-Athlete Development Coordinator. Dorrell’s new job would align her with Petrino’s recruiting process and assist with player eligibility upon arrival on campus.
But Long claimed to news last night, that when hired, Dorrell, a former Arkansas all-SEC volleyball player, was allegedly already Bobby Petrino’s mistress. Long was irate that Petrino never disclosed the conflict of interest in hiring Dorrell, a former Razorback Foundation Assistant Director, as his employee on March 28. Long said the hiring process was suspect also. He said that Dorrell was one of three finalists of one hundred fifty-nine applicants; Long also said that Petrino’s hiring process was conducted shorter than normal.
Long told news about that March 28 hiring that “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.”
At the time of the hiring, Dorrell and Petrino were already involved personally, claimed Long. That action triggered review of Petrino’s contract provision. Under his roughly $3.53 million per year contract, Bobby Petrino could be fired by Arkansas for any conduct that “negatively or adversely affects the reputation of the (university’s) athletics programs in any way.”
Petrino’s conduct didn’t stop there. At some moment, Petrino not only carried on an inappropriate relationship with Dorrell for a “significant” amount of time, put even paid her $20,000 and never disclosed the payment to the university. The funds came from Petrino, not Arkansas accounts, Long confirmed. But the payment was never disclosed and the nature of the payment was deemed an inappropriate “gift”, Long told news last night.
After the March 28 Petrino hiring of Dorrell came the April 1 Petrino riding with Dorrell. After that crash, the two took efforts not be to seen together. Witness Larry Hendren saw the crash and offered to call 911. But the two declined. The cause of the crash to this day remains unknown.
Then Dorrell and Petrino left the crash scene in less than five minutes. They headed to a Fayetteville location whether they switched cars, sending Dorrell on her way alone while Petrino heading to the emergency room.
Petrino’s wife had called him. While en route to the hospital, Bobby Petrino received a phone call from his wife Becky Petrino. He had left his wife at roughly 6:30 pm that night to go on the bike ride. “He told me that it was Becky (Mrs. Petrino) calling” said Captain Lance King of the Arkansas State Police who took the coach to the hospital.
Between that Sunday and roughly Tuesday, Petrino didn’t tell Long that Dorrell was a passenger on the bike. So Long and Arkansas officials issued news statements that were erroneous stating Petrino was the only person involved with the crash. On Thursday, the scandal erupted after the ASP police report was issued. The report listed a passenger: Jessica Dorrell.
Petrino in the hospital, and after discharge, held press conferences, continuing to mislead the public. Petrino repeatedly told news that he was alone on the bike. By the end of last week, Long had enough, putting Petrino on administrative leave.
On Monday, King issued an elongated statement featuring Trooper details of the night. Finally by Monday evening, Arkansas confirmed that Bobby Petrino was fired, with cause.
“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.” Long became emotional at one point in describing the difficulty of telling students that their own coach had been fired.
Bobby Petrino issued an apology last night, to his university and his family. “The simplest response I have is: I’m sorry. These two words seem very inadequate. But that is my heart. All I have been able to think about is the number of people I’ve let down by making selfish decisions. I’ve taken a lot of criticism in the past. Some deserved, some not deserved. This time, I have no one to blame but myself.” He added “I chose to engage in an improper relationship. I also made several poor decisions following the end of that relationship and in the aftermath of the accident. I accept full responsibility for what has happened.”
And what happened to Dorrell? Jessica Dorrell has not spoken since the scandal erupted. She didn’t go to the hospital with Petrino after his crash. Long refused to comment about Dorrell’s job status. Long was engaged to Josh Morgan, the athletic department’s director of swimming and diving operations when the scandal erupted.
Bobby Petrino, Jessica Dorrell