The University of Arkansas released documents on Thursday that pertained to the hiring of Jessica Dorrell, the 25-year-old who had an affair with head football coach Bobby Petrino.
Dorrell had been a fundraiser at the Razorback Foundation, a group that raises funds for the UA athletic department, but just a week before the accident she was named the student athlete development coordinator thanks in large part to the endorsement of Patrino.
The university released the documents in an effort to maintain transparency into the investigation into Patrino. Arkansas Athletic Director Kevin Long said that Dorrell's hiring did not follow typical protocol. He said Petrino failed to disclose his conflict of interest in recommending Dorrell and for changing the rules to aid her.
The interview process for the position which pays an annual salary of $55,735 was changed right from the very beginning. On March 19, a week after Dorrell and another finalist were interviewed, Long requested university officials waive the usual 30-day wait period so they could fill the open recruiting coordinator job.
The documents also include Petrino endorsing Dorrell out of the 159 applicants and three finalists.
I would like to offer to this candidate, Petrino wrote. Out of the candidates, she had the best experience and we felt like she would be the best fit for this position.
There was also an unsigned notation among the documents from her hiring that said: She has a natural networking ability who can communicate to coaches, student-athletes and donors. Out of the three (finalist) candidates, Jessica has the most overall experience of building relationships that the football program is looking for.
Flight manifests involving the football program over the past several months show that Dorrell joined Petrino and three other passengers on two separate day trips in February, on the 23rd and 29th. The first was a roundtrip flight to from Fayetteville to Searcy, Ark., for an appearance at the White County Razorback Club, the second a similar trip to Texarkana, Ark.
The two were also on two more flights the following month, on March 6 and March 12, again joined by three other passengers. Both were day trips, one to Harlingen, Texas, the other to West Memphis, Ark.
It is not known what exactly the coach was doing on each of these trips, but at least some of them were for school functions where a fundraiser like Dorrell would be welcome and able to meet with major school donors.