Should Arkansas Have Fired Bobby Petrino?

The University of Arkansas fired Bobby Petrino this afternoon. They stated that he “knowingly misled the school and engaged in reckless behavior with a 25-year old employee. This probably wouldn’t be an issue if he wasn’t the head football coach. The 51-year old was injured in a motorcycle accident and he lied about the presence of Jessica Dorrell, who was also on the motorcycle too. Dorrell was just hired a few weeks ago by Petrino. It is unknown if there was a “casting couch” situation, but this situation doesn’t stop the rumors. Should the University of Arkansas live under a different set of rules than Bill Clinton, who is the former Governor of Arkansas. Shouldn’t that state be lenient with this kind of activity?

Mr. Petrino should have known that if he went all “Ruff Ryderz” with his side-piece, he was begging for trouble. He was coming off a few successful seasons and was entrenched in his job. He was becoming an iconic figure in Arkansas. If he notched a few more bowl game victories, he would have surpassed Nolan Richardson in status. It is hard to believe that Arkansas went ahead with the firing of Petrino.

I was shocked by the news of the firing, because football money is a huge part of a university’s sports department’s revenue. Then the news came out about a clause that would free them from Petrino’s contract of roughly $3.53 million a year. If he “engaged in conduct that was clearly contrary to the character and responsibilities of a person occupying the position of head football coach or which negatively or adversely affects the reputation of the (university’s) athletics programs in any way,” he’d be canned. I understand the seriousness of this issue, but as Louisville did with Rick Pitino’s affair, I thought that they would sweep it under the rug.

When the University of Arkansas hired Bobby Petrino, he was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The season wasn’t quite over yet and the next thing you know, he’s leading the Razorbacks in a “Woo Pig Sooie” chant. He quit on his team and left to take a job in the NCAA, a place where he knew how to win. It’s hard to look over the fact that he backtracked from a commitment and retreat with his tail between his legs.

I can’t deny that Petrino is a great college football coach. He’s helped direct two schools into premiere bowl games and he’s orchestrated a great offense at each school. He’ll get another job very soon and I don’t think he should have been fired. I respect Arkansas for making a moral decision, which is lacking in NCAA sports, but it was a dumb decision. He wasn’t drunk behind the wheel, in which many college coaches have been arrested for (Bob Huggins, Billy Gillispie, etc), but the university deemed this worse than endangering the innocent lives of others. Let this be a warning to any future coach at Arkansas, if you’re seeing a 25-year old on the down-low, get a designated driver.


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