Ark coach Bobby Petrino put on leave after crash
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. (AP) - Arkansas put football coach Bobby Petrino on paid leave Thursday after he failed to disclose he had been riding with a female employee half his age when his motorcycle skidded off the road over the weekend _ an accident that prompted him to apologize for that and for what he described as a “previous inappropriate relationship.”
“I’m at the beginning of the review. I don’t know what I’m going to find,” Long said.
Long said he was disappointed that he didn’t hear about the passenger _ former Arkansas volleyball player and current Razorback Foundation fundraiser Jessica Dorrell _ until a police report was released Thursday.
Petrino, who is married with four children, didn’t mention he had a passenger during a news conference on Tuesday, two days after Sunday’s accident, and a school statement that day quoted Petrino’s family as saying “no other individuals” were involved. In a video posted by KFSM-TV, Petrino was asked following that news conference if he had another passenger with him.
“Hey coach, you said you were alone on the bike, right?” the reporter asked.
“Yeah,” Petrino said before continuing to walk away.
“When I came out of the ditch, there was a lady there that had flagged down a car,” Petrino said Tuesday, nursing four broken ribs and wearing a neck brace to support a cracked neck vertebra. “The guy that was in the passenger’s seat said, `Get in, we’ll just take you right to the hospital instead of waiting,’ and so I got in the car and they headed toward Fayetteville.”
“My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public,” he said. “In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.”
He added: “I will fully cooperate with the university throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my athletic director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.”
Dorrell, who did not return a call seeking comment, was hired March 28 by Petrino as the student-athlete development coordinator. She is in charge of organizing the recruiting process for the football team, including initial eligibility for each incoming player.
Long said he had not decided whether to suspend Dorrell.
The police report said Petrino was riding with Dorrell when he lost control of his motorcycle. Dorrell said in the report that she wasn’t sure what caused the accident, during which Petrino was unable to maneuver a turn and laid the motorcycle down on its left side while sliding off a rural, two-lane highway about 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville.