Bobby Petrino, the former University of Arkansas football coach, was recently fired after it was discovered that he participated in a long-time relationship with his assistant Jessica Dorrell. Documents released on April 19th reveal that this secret interaction had been going on for more than a year, with Petrino sending Dorrell candy, referring to her as a close friend, and insinuating that the affair began with a kiss over lunch last fall.
Handwritten notes revealed the leaked tidbits, according to a report from the Associated Press. Athletic Director Jeff Long found these notes during the investigation of Petrino, who was fired last week. The AP obtained Long's notes as well as those of Assistant Athletic Director John Fagg, which were released as part of the Freedom of Information Act.
The 51-year-old former Arkansas coach and his 25-year-old assistant were intimate for about five months, the notes said. Although the relationship was believed to occur during September or October through this past February, the notes suggested that the two might have interacted heavily one full year ago. The university discovered 326 phone calls and 7,228 text messages that dated back to April 2011, the report said.
The messages show that Petrino and Dorrell attempted to end the intimate part of their relationship once she expressed interest in applying for a job under Petrino. She was officially hired on March 28th, but has since resigned.
But there are details that left Long skeptical when reflecting on the situation, the AP reported. In his notes he questioned: If the relationship was over, why get on (the) bike?
He also wondered why Dorrell would say she expected the relationship to continue if the motorcrash didn't occur, but no answer was listed for either inquiry.
The relationship could have begun in October when Petrino and Dorrell were on a lunch outing together. Sitting in his car, the two were talking and eating lunch when Dorrell asked are you going to kiss me, Long's notes revealed. And the answer was yes.
However, it is unclear exactly when the relationship turned sexual. Dorrell said the two have been intimate four to six times since around September, and the last encounter was around National Signing Day on Feb. 1, the AP reported.
Petrino was officially fired for not disclosing his relationship with Dorrell, who formerly played volleyball for Arkansas before being hired by Petrino. He also failed to disclose his conflict of interest or the fact that he had once given her $20,000. Long wrote that this payment could make the school vulnerable to sexual harassment lawsuit.
Long continued to write that Petrino Never thought the gift was a problem or the relationship, with the athletic director adding two large question marks next to that entry.
But journalistic veterans such as the AP aren't the only ones delving into the Petrino affair. Part of the reason the former Arkansas coach's scandal reached such a wide audience is due to the rise in social media as a prominent force in the news field, according to a report from CNN.
That's because new media have created a slew of investigative reporters among average citizens through personal blogs, Twitter, YouTube, talk-show radio, cellphone cameras and recorders, Facebook and fan websites, sports columnist Terence Moore wrote in an exclusive piece for CNN.
As a result, a new approach has been taken when it comes to handling highly successful coaches caught in high-profile situations.
All of this (instant reporting of scandal) in regards to how it relates to the electronic media has certainly heightened the information and interest and lessened tolerance, Georgia Tech athletics director Dan Radakovich said to Moore.
In the end, Petrino's responses weren't enough to save the highly recognized football coach.
But, as the AP reports, Petrino confirmed his relationship with Dorrell by saying they embarked on that motorcycle ride because they had always said they would go on a ride.