Like just about every other cover-up, the bits and pieces of the Bobby Petrino story keep surfacing.
What started as a one-man accident turned into a two-person accident, the other person being 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, who works in Arkansas’ football offices. That turned into further curiosity surrounding police officer Lance King, who transported Petrino to the hospital that day and works security during football season.
Now, there are questions surrounding the individuals who transported Petrino and Dorrell from the accident scene to an intersection where Dorrell left in her own vehicle and King picked up Petrino.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is said to have eight reporters — eight — working on the Petrino story. In Saturday’s online addition of the paper, the ADG uncovered a few more details of the accident. It’s behind a paywall, and Chris Bahn of ArkansasSports360 provides a couple of blurbs.
They are as follows:
*A state trooper that was dispatched to the accident scene was scheduled to do a fugitive pickup. He dropped that to go to an accident scene that we now know included a wrecked motorcycle, but not the people who wrecked.
*Initially, the couple that transported Petrino and Dorrell from the scene — to a rendezvous point with State Police Capt. Lance King — told reporters that Petrino was alone. Only after seeing the accident report did they admit Dorrell was in the car. Family members are now acting as spokespeople for the couple, who seem to have gone into hiding.
By all accounts, the details of the aftermath of the accident are still a bit muddled, but here’s what the story means so far:
- The questioning of Capt. King is important for two reasons. One, and more obviously, he was directly involved in transporting Petrino to the hospital. Was he called by Petrino? Did King know Dorrell was with him? If so, why wasn’t Dorrell included in the initial police statement on Monday? Did King know of any prior inappropriate relationship or quid pro quo? Two, and more indirectly, there is, at minimum, a prior connection between Long and Petrino because of King’s job in security for UA.
- As far as the people who drove Petrino and Dorrell from the accident are concerned, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think Petrino told them they never saw Dorrell. The 911 call released Friday mentioned both Petrino and Dorrell asked that 911 not be called. Or, maybe the couple kept quiet on their own. That’s possible too.
- The idea that Petrino could be having an affair with a coworker is compelling, but as many of you have mentioned, that’s his private life. True, but Petrino made his private life public when he went for a ride Sunday evening with Dorrell. And, as is usually the case, the cover-up is what gets the attention.
- If Petrino did have a previous inappropriate relationship with Dorrell, that’s not really grounds for termination by itself. What could is lying to athletic director Jeff Long because Arkansas released a statement with inaccurate information, and if a police officer is involved, it only magnifies the lie. If the police report hadn’t been released, we may not have ever known about Dorrell because I can’t think of one person who’d believe Petrino would have said a thing.
- Which leads me to this: if you’re Jeff Long, you have to swallow the fact that your employee withheld information from you* and potentially hired someone with whom he was already having an inappropriate relationship. All in a week. And was okay with it — at least okay with it enough not to say anything until he had to. That’s a lot of distrust and it’s not like Petrino came to Fayetteville with a squeaky-clean record. The fact of the matter is that while potential infidelity only affects Petrino, Dorrell and their respective families, the cover-up had a greater ripple effect that has carried over into the professional lives of others.
- That said, firing Petrino isn’t the only option. He can be suspended without pay, so Long doesn’t necessarily have to make an all-or-nothing decision. But, if I was Long, I’d fire Petrino for putting myself and UA in the situation we’re in right now.
- I also don’t have the obligation of maintaining a winning football program with boosters breathing down my neck. So there’s that.
(*there have been retorts that Petrino was drugged up/in shock after his accident, so his initial account could have been compromised. Very possible, but he came down well enough to give a Tuesday press conference… where he also withheld information.)
Most expect Josh Rosen to be one of the first quarterbacks selected when the next NFL draft rolls around. Rosen’s coach, though, doesn’t see the outspoken junior being a part of the pool of available draftees.
“My firm belief is that he will not leave,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora told Yahoo Sports‘ Pete Thamel over the weekend. “I don’t think he’ll leave. …
“I want a disclaimer, I have an option to change my opinion. But as we sit here right now, I can really honestly say I don’t think he’s going to leave.”
Mora’s proclamation comes less than two weeks before the Bruins kick off the 2017 season and around five months before draft-eligible early entrants have to officially file their paperwork with the NFL.
Rosen flashed brilliance as a true freshman in 2015, passing for nearly 3,700 yards and 23 touchdowns. His sophomore campaign was marred by a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder that sidelined him for the final six games of the season. Rosen has resoundingly rebounded from that health issue, and will head into the 2017 season 100-percent healthy.
Whether he enters the 2018 season 100-percent Bruin remains, his head coach’s confidence notwithstanding, highly unlikely or even doubtful, especially given his recent comments that football and school don’t mix.
Not surprisingly, more details are surfacing in Hugh Freeze‘s unceremonious exit from Oxford.
Freeze resigned as the head football coach at Ole Miss last month in part because of Jan. 19 phone call to an escort service that was initially deemed to be a misdial. According to the Wall Street Journal, that call came a few hours after a university plane landed in Tampa, Fla., as part of a five-day, 13-stop recruiting trip. On that plane was Freeze as well as other members of the Rebels football staff.
The discovery of the link between the call and recruiting trip came after a review of phone records and other documents.
After Freeze’s “resignation,” Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork described an unspecified pattern of personal misconduct that led to the coach’s departure. Bjork somewhat expounded on that pattern to the Journal.
Although school officials had previously declined to characterize the alleged misconduct, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in response to questions from the Journal about Freeze’s travel that the university’s investigation uncovered “calls of a similar nature” over the course of several years, often matching up with travel logs showing the coach’s use of the school plane. The school said it examined his travel logs from peak recruiting times—often November, December and January—when Freeze would travel out of state, using the school plane and other public resources.
“When we say pattern, we are describing other phone numbers that when you Google them pull up similar type websites, services, however you would describe them,” Bjork said. “We took action swiftly.
Speculation of late has there being more, potentially much more, to Freeze’s forced resignation. Only time will tell how much more will ultimately come out — especially if another former Ole Miss head coach’s lawsuit, kicked out of federal court for lack of jurisdiction, is revived in the state of Mississippi as expected.
In his college football preview Bible, the great Phil Steele had Michael Pittman listed as one of three starting wide receivers for USC. With the start of a new season a little more than two weeks away, Pittman doesn’t appear set to make that magazine projection come to fruition.
According to multiple reports, Pittman suffered an ankle injury during practice Tuesday and was taken off the field via a cart after having a boot placed on his left foot. While X-rays taken post-practice showed no break or fracture, the sophomore has been diagnosed with the dreaded high-ankle sprain.
As a result, the Los Angeles Daily News writes that “[i]t seems unlikely he would be able to play against Western Michigan.” Rivals.com tweeted that the injury “[p]robably keeps him out of season opener.”
At least for now, the football program has yet to officially rule Pittman out for the opener.
Pittman was a four-star 2016 recruit, rated as the No. 9 receiver in the country. As a true freshman last season, he caught six passes for 82 yards.
In a span of just a few hours, Lane Kiffin Tuesday bolstered his first Florida Atlantic roster with a pair of Power Five transfers.
In the middle of the afternoon Tuesday, Auburn confirmed that John Franklin III had decided to transfer from the Tigers in order to be closer to his Fort Lauderdale, Fla., home. Not long after, the quarterback-turned-wide receiver revealed on his Instagram account that he is “coming home and looking forward to playing my last collegiate season at FAU under Coach Lane Kiffin.”
Franklin would come to the Owls as a graduate transfer, giving him immediate eligibility.
Not even four hours later, Chris Robison took to social media on his private Twitter account to announce that he too will be transferring into Kiffin’s FAU program. The quarterback was dismissed by Oklahoma earlier this month for violating unspecified team rules.
A four-star member of the Sooners’ 2017 recruiting class, Robison was rated as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the country; the No. 29 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 173 recruit on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. As an early enrollee, Robison took part in spring practice and played in the spring game, completing 3-of-5 passes for 49 yards.
Roughly 12 hours after that game, he was arrested for being drunk in public. Because of only what were described as “personal reasons,” Robison wasn’t enrolled in summer classes and didn’t take part in football workouts during the same period.