So unless you don’t like sports or live under a rock, which in either case probably would mean you’re not reading this, you know by now that Bobby Petrino was put on administrative leave from the University of Arkansas in order for athletic director Jeff Long to look into the events. What’s he looking for? “I guess I’ll know what I’m looking for when I find it” he said. So as a result, you have everyone who dislikes Bobby Petrino (psst…there’s a lot of em’) calling for his head and screaming that he needs to go because he lied to his boss about it when questioned.
Just in case any of you are blurry on the events that Mr. Long will be looking into, to summarize, Bobby Petrino went out for a joy ride on his motor cycle one afternoon. He crashed said motorcycle. Jessica Dorrell, a member of his staff and former Arkansas Volleyball player, was riding on the back. Bobby Petrino lied to his boss when asked if anyone else was on the motorcycle and said he was riding alone. He lied because he was having a sexual relationship with Ms. Dorrell on the side and didn’t want his wife to know. One more small thing: Ms. Dorrell, the assistant there, she was umm….kinda…engaged to a member of the Arkansas swim team coaching staff.
But we’ll leave the marriage issues alone and get back to the sports side of the story here which is Bobby Petrino. The consensus is that he has to go because of the dishonesty, deceit, and sure, I guess you can say arrogance he brought to the table here. Despite being given the chance to tell his AD what happened, he tried to maneuver his way around it and make it all go away. It didn’t happen and now he’s left to feel the pain of what will likely be a firing at some point once Jeff Long has all the info he needs to make a decision. So with that said, here’s basically the feeling I have on what’s going to happen and why he’ll be gone.
Reasons people want him fired for but don’t mean much to me:
1) “He hired his mistress!”
Calmmmmmm downnnnnn people. First off, Business 101 should have a section that teaches you the “realities” of the business world and one of them is, if you’re an attractive woman, you’re going to get hired for jobs. If that’s earth-shattering news for any of you out there, you need to get outside more. As a Finance professor at Clemson said to us last semester in class: “There’s three ways you can make it in this world. Either you’re really bright, you’re really good looking, or everyone you meet likes being around you.” The fact Bobby Petrino hired an attractive woman to be on his staff isn’t a cause for firing. In fact, by all accounts I’ve seen, the girl was qualified for the job. It wasn’t a bimbo with Derrick Rose’s IQ who he just handed a job to. She went to the school, graduated from Arkansas, and evidently was serviceable enough for the job. For the amount of time coaches spend year-round with their staff, naturally you’re going to want to be around people you like. When women are on your staff, if they can do the job, a coach would probably prefer (but not necessarily will give a job to) a woman who is attractive. If we want to start canning employers for hiring a girl on her looks and the fact he’s attracted to her, you might as well shut down the economy.
2) “He’s a bad guy. He doesn’t deserve another chance!!”
As I mentioned earlier, people don’t really like Bobby Petrino. The bulk of that hate comes from him ditching the Atlanta Falcons after less than a year on the job to take the Arkansas job. While you can’t fire someone for not liking them, you can usually twist a reason into firing someone you don’t like. Problem is, Arkansas doesn’t like Petrino. THEY LOVE HIM. He’s very much supported by the Razorback fanbase and community and you better believe the administration likes a guy who wins double digit games and in the last two years has taken them to the Sugar Bowl and the Cotton Bowl, two big pay days for the school. Arkansas doesn’t want to have to fire Bobby Petrino. With spring practices, a spring game, summer sessions and a very strong team coming back in 2012, now isn’t exactly the ideal time to let go of a coach who has had a lot of success in recent years.
3) “Shouldn’t morality exist in sports? Come on!!!”
I’m not condoning sleeping with assistants that are half your age and cheating on your wife. I think it’s a pretty bad characteristic trait to have, but at the end of the day, it’s not a legit reason for firing. Being a good husband is not a condition of Bobby Petrino’s contract. He gets paid to win football games and run a football program. What he did had no bearing on his ability or success to do either. If we’re honest with ourselves, no D-1 FBS football coach is flawless with his morals. It’s nearly impossible to do so and compete at the highest level of college football. Recruiting is basically one giant contest to see who has the least amount of morals. We’ve all heard stories of coaches harassing high school players for a signature. There’s coaches who will recruit a kid who may not ever play meaningful time for them simply to keep an opponent from picking that player up. That’s not moral. Coaches rip into players for performance and likely punish them at practice with excessive running drills. While we all understand it’s a part of coaching and the sport, is it moral? Probably not. Fact is Bobby Petrino slept with an assistant. Sure, it’s not exactly building team chemistry among the Razorbacks programs when the football coach is sleeping with an assistant on the swim team’s wife, but it’s a pretty poor reason to fire a guy. Like I said about corporate America, you want to fire CFB coaches who don’t act morally? Start looking for 120 new candidates.On a totem pole of coaches screwing up, I’m not sure this goes above the 2nd or 3rd rung.
Why Bobby Petrino will ultimately be fired:
HE LIED. It’s understood by just about everyone. The NCAA is HUGE when it comes to punishments by how much you cooperate. Every time a team comes under suspicion of NCAA violations, it’s always mentioned how much the school cooperated and as a result of their cooperation, why they got the penalty they did. You just can’t lie in college sports. Schools have adopted this policy and are ruthless on coaches and players for being dishonest when they’re questioned.
A year ago Jim Tressel was ousted for lying about what he knew regarding their scandal at Ohio St. Despite numerous BCS games and Big Ten titles and even a national title, Tressel couldn’t survive the mold growing on his roots and he was sent packing from Ohio St.
Jim Valvano, a great coach for many years had his program come under scrutiny and despite a ton of evidence to the contrary, he claimed he didn’t know anything about the rumors of drug use as well as sub par academic performance of many recruits, namely Chris Washburn. He eventually was forced to resign.
Bruce Pearl, one of the most energetic personalities in college basketball when he was at Tennessee and who helped put the men’s team among the best teams in the country a few years couldn’t survive lying to the NCAA about recruiting violations for having barbecues at his home. He ultimately had to go and was hit with the dreaded show-cause tag.
Bobby Petrino chose to lie to his employer, not the NCAA so maybe Jeff Long can overlook it and bring him back. But I wouldn’t bet on it. Add in the fact that if Petrino isn’t fired, any future employee of Arkansas University who is fired for lying will have a hell of a case when they challenge their termination. As crazy as it sounds, bringing Bobby Petrino back may do more harm than good at this point, regardless of how good of a coach he has been. A team who I felt was a top 5 team heading into 2012 has a big dilemma on its hands now. They’ll be a lot of national interest continuously to follow this story and ultimately the decision Jeff Long makes.
But it’s simple kids. As we learned at a young age, don’t lie. You can get caught, and if you’re a really good coach you can even get away with some things others wouldn’t. However, when you’re caught, tell the truth. Otherwise you can probably kiss your job goodbye.
Check me out on twitter: @BDohertyTSHQ1