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.”
Athletic director Jeff Long announced the decision at a late-night press conference and said he had no timeline in determining Petrino’s future with the Razorbacks.
“I’m at the beginning of the review. I don’t know what I’m going to find,” Long said. “I hope to have a resolution soon. I certainly don’t have all the answers here tonight, as we meet. But again, I have an obligation and responsibility to obtain the information and then act appropriately on that information.”
Long said he was disappointed he didn’t hear about the passenger — former Arkansas volleyball player and current athletic department employee 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.
Petrino said then that he had spent Sunday with his wife, Becky, at a lake and was going for an evening ride.
“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.”
In Thursday’s statement, Petrino admitted that he had kept quiet about Dorrell.
Source: USA Today