Documents Reveal Additional Details Of Relationship That Led To Petrino's Firing

by Chris Bahn  on Thursday, Apr. 19, 2012 6:00 pm  

Jeff Long's notes from the Bobby Petrino review were released Thursday as part of the former coach's personnel file.

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Arkansas released nearly 300 pages from the personnel file of former football coach Bobby Petrino on Thursday, including 131 pages of hand-written notes and other information compiled during a review of Petrino in his final days as coach.

Athletic Director Jeff Long fired Petrino with cause for not being forthcoming about an extramarital affair with Jessica Dorrell, who the coach hired in March as a member of his football staff. Petrino and Dorrell exchanged 7,288 texts and 324 phone calls from March 2011 until April 2012, and documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show their relationship turned physical from October 2011 until February 2012.

Long’s notes include mention he was “still looking for ways you [Petrino] can remain our coach. Help me understand why those are not violations of your contract.”

Petrino was fired on April 10.

Included are lines from the review in which it became clear that Long was upset with being misled by Petrino, following an April 1 motorcycle accident that brought the Petrino-Dorrell relationship to light. Dorrell, who resigned her post as student-athlete development coordinator earlier this week, was announced as the newest member of Petrino’s football staff on March 28.

•"You knew when you hired her."

•"You knew on Sunday [the day of the crash]."

•"You knew when I visited you in [the] hospital [the day following the accident]."

Petrino and Dorrell told Long their affair began in October and was mutually ended in February after signing day. The two said they remained friends, "best friends," and it was Dorrell that approached Petrino with interest in joining his staff.

"If the relationship was over, why get on [the bike]?" Long asked. Elsewhere it is noted that Petrino said they went for a ride because he had promised to take Dorrell with him.

Notes were compiled by Long and senior associate athletic director for compliance Jon Fagg.

Also included is an itenerary of Long’s day leading up to a 7 p.m. press conference informing the public of his decision to fire Petrino. Long met with the UA System president at 1:30 p.m., called the board of trustees at 3:30 p.m., met with Petrino at 5:30 p.m., then visited with the team at 6:10 p.m.

Dorrell explained a $20,000 gift from Petrino to her then fiance as a “signing bonus” from football. They shared a love of the Hot Tamales candy, something that is noted multiple times throughout the documents. Gifts, particulary the cash, left administrators with concern they could be open to a "sexual harassment suit."

Petrino met with media on April 3, two days after the accident, and did not reveal the two were together. He told reporters after the press conference he was alone, despite a reminder from media relations staffer Zack Higbee prior to the media gathering to "be sure to think of anything else that could be an issue."

Multiple interviews were conducted with football and Razorback Foundation staff members, including Petrino. Dorrell and her former fiance, Josh Morgan. Dorrell resigned and was given an approximately $14,000 settlement a week after Petrino was fired.



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