In a late press conference this evening, University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long announced that, after learning that Bobby Petrino had not been totally forthcoming in his statement concerning his motorcycle accident, Bobby Petrino will be placed on paid administrative leave, and assistant head coach Taver Johnson would assume Petrino’s responsibilities in the interim. Citing the freshness of the information, and uncertainty over whether he is even now in full possession of the facts of the events surrounding the accident and its aftermath, Long stated that Petrino would be placed on paid leave, and will further consider all of the facts available regarding Petrino’s employment.
Long expressed disappointment, but would not elucidate on questions regarding Petrino’s contract, what morals clauses may be contained therein, and how they may affect the coach’s employment situation. At this time, no information has been given regarding the female employee involved in the incident. Long repeatedly stated that he has to conduct a review, and once that review is complete, further decisions will be made.
Petrino also released a statement:
The state police report provides an accurate description of my accident, which includes details that had not publicly come to light prior to the report being issued. I regret that I have not publicly acknowledged a passenger on the vehicle. I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell’s name being revealed. In my press conference, I referred to her simply as “a lady.” My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public. In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.
I apologize to my wife, Becky, and our four children, Chancellor (David) Gearhart, Jeff Long, the Board of Trustees, University administration, my coaching staff, student-athletes and the entire state of Arkansas. I have been humbled by the outpouring of concern and get well wishes. I apologize to the Razorback Nation for the attention my actions have brought to the University of Arkansas and our program. I will fully cooperate with the University throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my Athletic Direction, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.
Additionally, the letter defining the terms of Petrino’s employment contains this section, which Long described when stating his uncertainty regarding clauses in Petrino’s contract:
The Employment Agreement shall include the University’s standard termination for cause provision which includes the right to terminate for cause based on…otherwise engaging in conduct, as solely determined by the University, which is clearly contrary to the character and responsibilities of the person occupying the position of Head Football Coach, or which negatively or adversely affects the reputation of the University or UAF’s Athletics Program in any way.