Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long announced Tuesday that Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino was fired after the motorcycle crash on April 1 exposed his inappropriate relationship with a 25-year-old employee of the University of Arkansas' athletic department.
Petrino had initially said that he was riding the motorbike alone when the accident happened, but before the Arkansas State Police report was released on Thursday, Petrino admitted in a statement that there was a female passenger with him, Jessica Dorrell.
Coach Petrino knowingly misled the athletics department and university about the circumstance related to this accident. He had multiple opportunities over a four day period to be forthcoming with me. He chose not to. He treated the news media and the general public in a similar manner, Long said in a statement.
Later on Thursday night, Long announced that Petrino was placed on paid administrative leave indefinitely.
Assistant Head Coach/Linebacker Coach Taver Johnson will now run the team through the rest of the spring practice.
On Dec. 11, 2007, Petrino, the former Atlanta Falcons coach, was hired by the Razorbacks. In 2010, he signed a seven-year contract worth $3.53 million annually.
Petrino knowingly kept quiet about his consensual relationship with Dorrell. But on Thursday night he admitted to his alleged relationship with Dorrell and also apologized to his wife Becky, his children and the University administration.
Although the relationship was not a violation of university policy, not disclosing it before hiring her for a position that had other 159 applicants did violate the university policy.
She was one of 159 applicants for the job and Coach Petrino himself participated in the review and selection process without disclosing his relationship with her and that constitutes a conflict of interest under university policy, Long said.
Petrino's relationship with Dorrell gave her an unfair and undisclosed advantage for the position on the athletic department staff, Long said in a statement.
During the review, Petrino also told Long that he gave a large sum of cash, some $20,000, to Dorrell. However, Long did not specify when and why the payment was made.
During my review of this matter, Coach Petrino informed me that he give a large sum of cash, some $20,000 to Ms. Dorrell. Coach Petrino, however, failed to disclose this information to me prior to his recommendation to hire her into the football program, Long said.
He made a conscious decision to speak and mislead the public on Tuesday. In doing so, he negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program, he added.
Read Long's opening statement during Tuesday's press conference here.
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