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 and said he had no timeline in determining Petrino’s future with the Razorbacks.
Long said he was disappointed that he didn’t hear about the 25-year-old passenger – former Arkansas volleyball player and current Razorback Foundation fundraiser Jessica Dorrell – until a police report was released Thursday.
Petrino, 51, 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.
In Thursday’s statement, Petrino admitted that he had kept quiet about Dorrell.
“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 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.
TEXAS CHRISTIAN: Three more players have been charged with felony marijuana delivery after a six-month sting.
Defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey, linebacker Tanner Brock and offensive tackle Ty Horn are among 14 people charged on Thursday in the drug investigation, bringing the total number charged to 23. All three are charged with delivering a quarter-ounce to five pounds of marijuana.
Cornerback Devin Johnson was charged in March with three cases of delivering a quarter-ounce to five pounds of marijuana.
AUBURN: Coach Gene Chizik says linebacker Jawara White has sustained a career-ending injury.
Chizik announced Thursday that White won’t be able to play football anymore.
He didn’t elaborate on the nature of the injury or whether it occurred during a practice this spring.