ST LOUIS (LALATE) – The Jessica Dorrell and Bobby Petrino wreck scandal prompted a buyout appeal waiver by Petrino, officials revealed to news today. Jessica Dorrell (photos below), a former Arkansas volleyball player hired by Bobby Petrino on March 23, was put on administrative leave Friday by the university. On Monday, the university terminated Petrino, denying his salary for this year along with his eighteen million contract buyout provision payment. But on Saturday, new documents revealed that Petrino has waived his right to appeal Arkansas’s decision about the buyout provision.
Prior to the Jessica Dorrell scandal, Bobby Petrino was set to earn $3.5 million this year from Arkansas. He additionally had an eighteen million dollar buyout provision in his contact. Petrino and Arkansas signed the contract in December of 2010, solidifying the coach’s position with the university for seven years. Petrino was set to earn as much as four million dollars per year, for seven years.
But on Monday, Arkansas fired Petrino. In doing so, Petrino would not be paid $3.5 million this year and as much as $17.5 million remaining on his contract. At the time, Arkansas told news that its determination was to fire Petrino “with cause”, denying him his buyout clause payment.
Did Petrino contest Arkansas’ ruling? No, new documents indicate. On Saturday, new Arkansas documents were released from the matter. In them, Russ Campbell, Petrino’s agent, told the University that Petrino would not appeal the buyout payment denial. Petrino through Campbell told his former boss, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, that he was accepting “responsibility for the events that led to the university’s decision to terminate his contract” and would not seek an appeal of the decision.
Moreover, Petrino’s statement indicated that he and his family will remain devoted to each other despite his affair. “Coach Petrino and his family wish nothing but the best for both the Razorback football program and University of Arkansas”.
Petrino’s family, and specifically Becky Petrino, have said little about the scandal that the public learned about after the wreck of April 1, 2011. That night, Becky Petrino called her husband. He told his wife, according to ASP reports issued to news, that he was involved in a bike ride and was en route to a local hospital. Sometime between Sunday and Tuesday, Petrino admitted to investigators that he had been on the bike with his alleged mistress, Jessica Dorrell.
University spokesman Steve Voorhies confirmed to news Friday that Jessica Dorrell is on paid administrative leave. She was hired by Petrino on March 23 for a salary of $55,735. But her future with the university is still uncertain.
Phone logs and Arkansas officials claim that Petrino and Dorrell had an alleged affair which began as early as September 2011. When a job opened up in Petrino’s football department, Dorrell applied for it.
In March, Petrino allegedly fast-tracked Dorrell through the hiring process. Petrino then allegedly praised her qualifications and spoke less favorably about her competition. Petrino hired Dorrell and then issued a news statement announcing her fit with his organization.
But throughout the application process, neither Dorrell nor Petrino revealed that they had an alleged affair in place as early as September the previous year. That amounted to a conflict of interest, Long claimed Monday.
After being hired by Petrino, Dorrell then received from Petrino what he called a gift. The gift was nearly half her annual salary, a check for twenty-thousand dollars drawn from his personal funds. With that money, Dorrell allegedly went out and bought a black Acura the first week of her job.
The 51 year old married father then took his new employee on a bike ride on April 1. It followed nearly four thousand three hundred text messages, three hundred phone calls, and numerous text pictures sent over six months. The two even exchanged videos via mobile devices.
On Friday, both Long’s termination letter to Petrino from April and Long’s hiring letter to Dorrell in March were released to news. Long said that Dorrell never would have been hired if Petrino had disclosed his relationship with her. Long wrote to Petrino that “(Y)ou deliberately failed to tell me that you had engaged in an extramarital affair with Ms. Dorrell over a period of several months leading up to your recommendation to hire her,” Long fumed. “If you had been forthcoming with me about the true nature of your relationship, I would not have approved the hiring.”
Long’s had told news, after the wreck scandal erupted, he wasn’t sure what he would find during his investigation. At the time, the matter appeared to be limited to Petrino’s lies about the wreck. But as Long continued to search, he found the alleged improper hiring of Dorrell, the improper hiring process, the cash gift, the Acura, and the phone logs.
Long said that there were “other concerns”. But he doesn’t provide a list of everything he found against Petrino. “Among other concerns relating to this ‘gift,’ you should have disclosed this fact to me … but you failed to do so.”
Initial text messages by Arkansas to Petrino suggested that officials were blindsided by the size of the scandal. But in the end, Long said that the contribution of Petrino to the school’s football program was hurt by his off-the-field conduct. “I recognize that you are a very talented football coach but the university may not disregard your conduct or sacrifice its integrity, reputation and principles.”
Bobby Petrino, Jessica Dorrell