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Updated: Petrino could be in violation of sexual harassment rule

Bobby Petrino AP

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long made the decision last night to place coach Bobby Petrino on paid administrative leave in light of new details concerning Petrino’s motorcycle accident last Sunday.

Long said he would conduct an internal review of the matter, so for now, Petrino’s job is safe. It may not be in due time for reasons I’ve outlined here, but there’s another way Petrino could end up without a job sooner rather than later.

As Chris Bahn of ArkansasSports360 points out — and by the way, Chris has done a fine job staying on top of this story — Petrino could be in violation of the University of Arkansas’ policy on sexual assault. Here’s what the handbook says on consensual sexual relationships:

Consensual sexual relationships between faculty and their students or between supervisors and their employees in some instances may result in charges of sexual harassment.

Consensual relationships may lead other faculty and students or supervisors and coworkers to question the validity of grades, evaluations, and other interactions between the people involved in such a relationship. The integrity of the work of both people in the relationship may be compromised.

University faculty, administrators, and other supervisory staff should be aware that any sexual involvement with their students or employees could subject them to formal action if a sexual harassment complaint is subsequently made and substantiated, and that they bear the greater burden of responsibility should it be proven that the power differential between them made the relationship other than fully consensual. Even when both parties have consented to a relationship, it is the faculty member, administrator, or supervisor who may be held accountable for unprofessional behavior. Other students or employees may allege that the relationship creates a hostile or abusive environment affecting them. Graduate assistants, residence hall staff, tutors, and undergraduate course assistants who are professionally responsible for students will be held to the same standards of accountability as faculty in their relationships with students whom they instruct or evaluate.

When a consensual relationship exists between a student and a faculty member who has control over the student’s academic work or status or between an employee and his or her supervisor, the resulting conflict of interest should be addressed in accordance with university policies concerning conflict of interest.

Now, Petrino hasn’t admitted anything regarding a consensual sexual relationship and Jessica Dorrell hasn’t commented; a statement last night from Petrino only lamented a “previous inappropriate relationship.” Believe you me when I say that was done on purpose.

Petrino’s attorney later added this statement:  “At this point, things are in the University’s hands and we have no comment beyond what Coach said in his statement.”

Does it lead us to believe there was a consensual sexual relationship between Petrino and Dorrell? Sure.

The point is that the interpretation of Petrino’s behavior is in the hands of UA. If Petrino is fired, or even disciplined, it’s because UA felt it was the prerogative to do so due to a violation of either Petrino’s contract, or the school’s handbook.

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34 Responses to “Updated: Petrino could be in violation of sexual harassment rule”
  1. thegamecocker says: Apr 6, 2012 11:07 AM

    Look, here is the way I see it….it is his PERSONAL BUSINESS what he does outside his job on his time. If President of the US can have a relationship with an intern in the Oval Office no less and remain in power, than I think the same should hold true for Patrino. What happens between him and his Family is HIS BUSINESS and HIS PROBLEM. And that is how I feel.

  2. palmbeachbuckeye says: Apr 6, 2012 11:13 AM

    He LIED….. everyone hammered that when Jim Tressel was crucified. PETRINO LIED– again, HE LIED. And he had sex with an Employee he directly supervises…. bye, bye…

  3. deadeye says: Apr 6, 2012 11:17 AM

    Petrino looks like Firemarshall Bill.

    This is the end of his Arkansas gig. Is it too late to hire a longterm replacement, or will they have to go with an interim coach for 2012?

  4. tigersgeaux says: Apr 6, 2012 11:23 AM

    deadeye: You are correct. Probably an interim coach from the present coaching staff? Right when they were poised to gain even further status as a top tier team. Sad.

  5. smackingfools says: Apr 6, 2012 11:35 AM

    He isn’t going anywhere. Sorry to disappoint you SEC west.

  6. ryoung1218 says: Apr 6, 2012 11:36 AM

    Petrino problem isn’t like Tressel or even Rich Rod issue. These coaches lied about NCAA violations. Coach P did not break NCAA rules and probably not even University rules. I am sure LSU and Bama fans want him gone. But it will not happen. AD Long will issue the appropriate punishment and he will be on the Hogs sidelines with LSU and Bama come to town.

  7. choochoorider says: Apr 6, 2012 11:41 AM

    He will get suspended a couple of games and be back for The Tide. He messed up with his family and not being forthcoming with Mr. Long, his leash just got short, but didn’t hang himself.

  8. mydixienormus says: Apr 6, 2012 11:44 AM

    I heard the girl in question is engaged.

    Suppose shes got some explaining to do to her future husband…

  9. thegamecocker says: Apr 6, 2012 11:47 AM

    Correct! He did not lie to the NCAA like Tressell or the Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl. That is the difference. And if you want liars, look no further than President Clinton! He lied but remained in office. And I don’t think he should have been questioned at all about his daliances! Again, it is HIS BUSINESS and no one else. Two adults who were in a relationship. Not my concern. The guy is doing his job and so was President Clinton. My goodness we all have skeletons in the closet. Just because you are successful at what you do, ya can’t have a little fun? Hell look at all the divorced CEO’s and married CEO’s that have some on the side. What the hell is wrong with you guys?

  10. baseballbarrister says: Apr 6, 2012 11:53 AM

    Given his lack of class during his tenure in Atlanta, this story doesn’t surprise me at all. Good to see karma is finally catching up to him.

  11. mydixienormus says: Apr 6, 2012 11:54 AM

    Agreed. Karma is biiiiiiiiiiiiaaach!

  12. ryoung1218 says: Apr 6, 2012 12:01 PM

    Solid comments. If Petrino violated University policy, Long will issue appropriate discipline which will not include firing. Important note to remember is that BP just became her supervisor. He was not her supervisor at the previous job so no policy violations there.

  13. ningenito78 says: Apr 6, 2012 12:23 PM

    Did you homers not read the article? He IS in violation of school policy by having a relationship with a subordinate. I swear to god fans of SEC teams have their heads up their asses.

  14. wayne1693 says: Apr 6, 2012 12:25 PM

    Any guys out there making disparaging remarks about Jessica are forgetting that ‘Discretion is the better part of Valor.’ Have some respect; she is a beautiful blond with an MBA! By the way, do you know what they call beautiful-blond Arkansas volleyball players doing hand-stands…? Brunettes!

  15. uschawk says: Apr 6, 2012 12:32 PM

    Once a liar always a liar. He lied his @ss off at Louisville then lied and ditched his commitment with the Falcons and has now been caught lying at Arkansas. At least Arkansas knew what they were getting when they hired him.

    So what’s it going to be Arkansas a dishonest man who cheats on his wife with a girl he hired to be on his staff but is a proven winner?

    Or a fine upstanding man that doesn’t win as many games?

    It’s a helluva dilemma winning or morality. I’m guessing that they’ll go with winning since they hired the SOB in the first place.

  16. mogogo1 says: Apr 6, 2012 12:40 PM

    Absolutely no sympathy for Petrino–he should be fired, imo–but this article is a factual disaster. The last paragraph of the policy as quoted SPECIFICALLY states that consensual relationships are part of the conflict of interest policies and not the sexual harassment policy. (I mean, can Kercheval not read?) It also earlier in the article says “sexual assault” instead of sexual harassment which is, of course, a completely different thing. Amazingly sloppy and sensationalistic.

  17. imaduffer says: Apr 6, 2012 12:46 PM

    Who was driving the bike? Him or her?

  18. dcole001 says: Apr 6, 2012 12:58 PM

    palmbeachbuckeye you really don’t know the difference from lying to NCAA and Lying to your Boss? For any Buckeye fan to try and compare the 2 is just dumb.. And I am not an Arkansas Fan. It would actually benefit the team I root for to fire Bobby P. He is not going anywhere. This will be forgotten by Football Season…

  19. deadeye says: Apr 6, 2012 1:03 PM

    No one is asking the most pertinent question: was the accident caused by an overly agressive reach around? Long is rightfully focusing his investigation on that aspect, and I think the answer will determine Petrino’s employment status with Arkansas.

  20. gopokes0714 says: Apr 6, 2012 1:08 PM

    Petrino should hit up President Clinton.

    He needs advice on how to hook up with a subordinate, keep his job, keep his wife, and still have fans love him.

  21. jesse1834 says: Apr 6, 2012 1:12 PM

    sexual harassment my ass, that’s stupid.

  22. normtide says: Apr 6, 2012 1:17 PM

    I would be shocked if he is fired. It is a buisness, and this scandal is mainly one from his personal life. People get upset over it, but it is true. I checked, there is no None of you are following your favorite mathletes. Like it or not, our compass has changed. Petrino is not a high character type, but it is not like ARK did not know that. You tell me, say you own a company. You have an employee who single handedly makes you millions. Do you fire him over this? People are here as fans, and you want him gone because your not ARK fans.

  23. crazyfootballfun says: Apr 6, 2012 1:37 PM

    What about those who were overlooked for Dorrell’s job? Did she get the job because she was Petrino’s mistress? Seems to me that integrity seems to matter less for coaches who are winners than coaches who are average, so my belief is Petrino will get a small slap on the wrist. What concerns me though is that even in his statement when he finally admitted the truth, he was using wiggle room language…: I’ve been in so much pain, on medications…”. Doesn’t really sound like someone who has taken complete responsibility. Although I tend to err on the side of ignoring people’s private lives, this does seem a bit different. I mean is the coach’s job merely to coach or is part of his job teaching and helping young men to grow up.? Is it important or not what kind of example he personally sets or is coaching the main deal? For the record, I don’t know those answers and I suspect it may have different answers for different schools. Or then again, maybe winning is everything.

  24. 19rolltide69 says: Apr 6, 2012 1:53 PM


    Just how big of a boy are you and your thinking.
    Coach Petrino is gone and it is just a matter of a few short days before he is history.
    He has a moral clause in his contract just the same as anyones else in contract coaching.
    This is why Arkansas will get him gone without
    the 18 million dollars left on his contract. No job and no money from the University.
    The Tide beat him last year and will do it again
    when time rolls around.
    I think he is a very good coach and probably
    one of the best in the country.
    Time at Arkansas has come and gone for him.


  25. frug says: Apr 6, 2012 1:59 PM


    The issue isn’t that he may have been having an affair, it’s that he may have been having an affair with someone he had hired to a really nice job. Setting aside all the obvious ethical issues that opens the school up to all sorts of potential legal challenges.

    I know he’s a good coach, but if turns out he was engaged in an “inappropriate relationship” with her prior to hiring her as an assistant (she was hired only a week before the accident) I can’t see how he keeps his job.

  26. ryoung1218 says: Apr 6, 2012 2:10 PM


    AD Long addresses the “moral clause” issue at press conference by clearly stating that there is NO moral clause in Petrino’s contract. Know your facts before making a comment. Anyway it seems like ‘Bama has had a harder time staying within NCAA rules than any other SEC excluding that other Alabama school.

  27. mountaineer50415 says: Apr 6, 2012 2:20 PM

    If I were his wife, or one of his children I would be very angry. To have it broadcast all over the place makes it even worse.
    It does appear that the rules for a football coach are more strict then they are for a priest.
    No one elected him as their minister. He should not have done what he did. It however, is none of my business. Is it really yours? She is not a child and is just as responsable. She could have said no and then if he did not stop she could have reported him.
    If he has told the football players that they should not be with women they are not married to then it is their business to call him on it.
    Some of you are really bitter and I can’t understand why.
    You say he is a good coach. Is that why you want him fired? Are you afraid he will defeat your team and maybe a new coach will not?
    I am very sorry to hear that his family has to go through this. May God be with them.

  28. mydixienormus says: Apr 6, 2012 2:38 PM

    Coach Patrino put his family through this!

    God has nothing to do with it…

  29. SOBEIT says: Apr 6, 2012 2:42 PM

    BP is a scumbag and has been proven at every stop along is tainted career.

    As for the girl…old man sex…yuck…also tainted.

    Who cares what “legal” or admin rules they broke…they broke the rule of common decency and common sense. BPs wife should take him for all he is worth and the fiance of this girl should toss her back.

  30. normtide says: Apr 6, 2012 3:44 PM

    Truth is, you want him fired, so ARK will fall a few notches and your team up a few. OSU fans wanted to keep Jim, because he won. Coaches are not hired to be Ward Cleaver, they are hired to win. So many of you are in knots that players do not get paid, like a buisness. Yet, here you are preaching morals, and molding kids, and institutions. You call him classless, yet your foundations change with each story.You can’t make a stand on anything, because your feet keep moving …

  31. thefiesty1 says: Apr 6, 2012 5:21 PM

    Wooooo! PIG, Soooueeeee! Way to go coach.

  32. dcroz says: Apr 6, 2012 8:52 PM


    Why would ‘Bama fans want Petrino gone? The Tide is 4-0 against him, and only one game has even been close (24-20 win in Fayetteville in 2010). Not as sure about the record against LSU, but I think the Tigers are 3-1 in their meetings with the Hogs under him. Now, Auburn/Ole Miss/MSU (and perhaps TAMU) fans might not be sad to see him leave, but so far he has posed little threat to the other two teams in the West.

  33. mrslay1 says: Apr 6, 2012 10:03 PM

    Her we are on a day that TCU has 4 more players with felony charges for drugs (now totaling 24) a kid from Min. dies and you want to talk about a grown man and grown woman having a possibly affair. It’s not like he lied to the NCAA, or involved with NCAA violations, or paid players or was a deviant with young boy’s or solisitating gay sex at a ball game.

  34. cowhawkfan says: Apr 9, 2012 4:49 PM


    Old man sex? Come on, some older guys bring it alot more than the young guys, in the bedroom and out. Heck, look at Hollywood and all the older guys with younger women. I mayself, at 47, bag 20 somethings on a weekly basis. Last week it was a 19 year old blonde with a hellacious body. Why would these girls want to be with a guy twice their age? I guess it’s because I keep myself in shape and look better than most fat a$$ younger guys, I make enough to treat them well, and I treat them with respect. Oh, and I’m fun to hang out with. So…to Bobby P….way to go dawg…just don’t crap where you live next time!

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