Bahn: What Exactly Is Jeff Long Reviewing As He Examines Bobby Petrino Situation?

by Chris Bahn  on Saturday, Apr. 7, 2012 5:00 pm  

Arkansas needs at least $40 million to pay for the football operations facility being built for Bobby Petrino. Ground was broken on the building in November, but fundraising is ongoing.

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Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long will continue his review of Bobby Petrino at least through the weekend.

Long, who placed Petrino on paid administrative leave earlier this week, confirmed through a school spokesman that he was still evaluating the coach’s status. Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident with a female member of his staff and was not initially forthcoming with Jessica Dorrell’s presence at the time of the wreck.

What exactly is Long reviewing?

We know there are a number of layers to this story. Obviously, there are moral and legal components that must be weighed.

Petrino was not upfront with his boss about the details of his accident. And Petrino admitted to an “improper relationship.” Typically, a coach’s personal life should remain his own business, but we’re now at the point where Petrino’s off field choices have bled over into his work life.

Because Petrino hired Dorrell on March 28, there is the potential for this to become an HR nightmare. We’re potentially talking about a supervisor-subordinate relationship here. That could become a legal issue.

Essentially, Petrino has done enough to violate the personal conduct clause in his contract which covers “engaging in conduct, as solely determined by the University, which is 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 or UAF’s Athletics Programs in any way.”

Those facts are well established. The moral and legal side will weigh into the decision, but there is surely much more at work.

It’s the financial component of this decision that might ultimately decide Petrino’s fate.

This goes beyond the $3.56 million Arkansas has invested in Petrino annually until 2017. That’s pocket change compared to the other financials that have to be considered.

Arkansas has been able to generate record revenues during Petrino’s time with the football program. Fans have been willing to pay more for tickets and donate more for the right to purchase tickets because of Petrino’s success.

Razorback Foundation membership has eclipsed 13,000 for the first time in school history.



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