Arkansas’ Petrino put on leave after crash

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Associated Press
Friday, April 6, 2012
— 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.

Petrino apologized and said he had been concerned about protecting his family and keeping an “inappropriate relationship from becoming public.”

“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,” he said in a statement issued by the university.

Athletic director Jeff Long announced the decision at a late-night news conference and said he had no timeline in determining the 51-year-old Petrino’s future with the school.

Long said he was disappointed that he didn’t hear about the passenger—former Arkansas volleyball player and current football program employee Jessica Dorrell, who is 25—until Petrino called him Thursday afternoon.

Long said assistant head coach Taver Johnson has been put in charge of the program while he conducts a review that could lead, based on conduct clauses in Petrino’s contract, to a possible suspension or firing.

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 Thursday’s statement, Petrino acknowledged that he had kept quiet about Dorrell.

“In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details,” he said. “Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.”

Last updated: 8:12 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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