And with the adjective “nicer” meant sarcastically, of course.
Petrino’s career finally seems to have self-destructed in recent days as details bubbled up about a motorcycle wreck that took place April 1 in Fayetteville. As it turned out, he had a rider aboard that day — 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, with whom the married Petrino was having a long-term affair. Moreover, Petrino had hired the former Razorbacks volleyball player four days earlier as the student-athlete development coordinator for the football program, and under circumstances that strongly suggested favoritism. And he had also given her $20,000.
Petrino then compounded his situation by failing to come clean with his higher-ups.
“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,” said athletic director Jeff Long during a press conference on Tuesday. “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.”
Petrino was fired “with cause” and therefore will get none of the $18 million buyout provision detailed in his contract, even though he had compiled a 34-17 record there as coach and established Arkansas as a power in the SEC West.
An argument could be made that Arkansas finally got what it deserved. You’ll recall that Petrino jumped town as Falcons coach in the middle of the night 13 games into the 2007 for the Arkansas job. Arkansas had no problems wooing him out of his contract with Atlanta, and Petrino saw no problem in leaving his players, assistant coaches, employer and Falcons fans in the lurch. That episode offered huge insights into Petrino’s character — or lack thereof.
That said, Arkansas officials are to be commended for acting firmly and decisively this week to protect the integrity of their program and university.
“No single individual is bigger than the team, the Razorback football program of the University of Arkansas,” Long said.
That university, like its counterparts here and elsewhere, has as its role the raising of standards — educational and otherwise.
Maybe Bobby Petrino will finally learn a few lessons from this about swinish behavior. But don’t count on it.