More details from Petrino’s Sunday motorcycle accident

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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 Kingwho 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.) 

Penn State trustee says he’s ‘running out of patience’ with ‘so-called victims’ of Jerry Sandusky

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With Baylor seemingly running away with the title of most embarrassing university in collegiate athletics, a Penn State trustee has said “hold my beer.”

Friday, former Penn State president Graham Spanier was found guilty on one count of endangering the welfare of children in a trial related to his role in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.  In an email to the Chronicle of Higher Education this week, PSU trustee Albert Lord had sharp words for the victims of Sandusky, who was found guilty on 45 of 48 child-sex abuse charges in June of 2012 and is currently serving a sentence of at least 30 years.

“Running out of sympathy for 35 yr old, so-called victims with 7 digit net worth,” the trustee wrote in a portion of the email. “Do not understand why they were so prominent in trial. As you learned, Graham Spanier never knew Sandusky abused anyone.”

Spanier was found not guilty on two other charges, a second count of child endangerment and one count of criminal conspiracy.

In a statement, the chairman of the school’s board of trustees, Ira Lubert, attempted to distance the body from Lord’s comments.

“Al Lord’s comments are personal and do not represent the opinions of the board or the university.”

Sun Belt commish issues statement on Arkansas gun law

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A highly-charged state law continues to garner the attention of the college football world.

Last week, the state of Arkansas legislature passed a law (House Bill 1249) that would allow concealed-carry handguns on publicly-owned property, which would include college sporting events.  A day later, and after realizing, amidst considerable controversy, the potential for alcohol-fueled fans to attend an SEC football game armed, the state’s senate voted to amend the law to exclude college sporting events.

The amendment still must pass through the House of Representatives, leading SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, with the University of Arkansas as a member of his conference, to release a statement Tuesday that was no doubt meant to apply pressure ahead of the vote.  Thursday, the Sun Belt’s commissioner, Karl Benson, followed suit out of concern for his membership, including Arkansas State in football.

During the last week I have followed closely the news articles regarding Arkansas House Bill 1249, and now also a potential amendment to what is now Act 562. Given that both the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Arkansas State University are members of the Sun Belt Conference — and as my colleague Greg Sankey of the Southeastern Conference has stated — I too support the Arkansas State Senate’s exemption in Senate Bill 724 that would prevent firearms from being allowed inside publicly funded stadiums and arenas in the State of Arkansas.

It’s unclear when the House will vote on the amendment.  Regardless of which version of thew law is finally agreed upon, it will go into effect Sept. 1.

Arkansas opens its 2017 season Sept. 2 against Florida A&M in Fayetteville.  Arkansas State’s home opener is a week later against the Miami (Fla.).

Foot injury could sideline Auburn’s Tashawn Manning for rest of spring

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After kicking cancer’s ass, this latest health issue hardly qualifies as a big deal.  Still, it’s a thing.

Tashawn Manning has been battling an unspecified foot injury of late, which has limited the defensive tackle’s availability for most of the first two-thirds of Auburn’s spring practice sessions.  With just five practices remaining, Manning could very well be sidelined for al of them.

“The problem is this is Day 9 and Saturday will be Day 11, so there’s a probability” that the player will not see the field for what remains of spring practice, Manning’s position coach, Rodney Garner, said according to al.com.

Around Thanksgiving of 2015, Manning, then an Auburn verbal commit, was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia.  In July of last year, he was finished with chemotherapy and declared cancer-free.

The defensive lineman didn’t play at all last season, instead taking online classes as he built up his strength as well as his weight after losing more than 60 pounds because of the chemo.  In January, he enrolled at AU and, two months later, was cleared to participate in the spring.

Suspended Mich. St. staffer receives one-MONTH contract extension

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A disturbing situation in East Lansing has added a head-scratching twist.

According to ESPN.com, and by way of a Freedom of Information request, Michigan State football staffer Curtis Blackwell was on the receiving end of a one-month contract extension earlier this month.  Blackwell, whose title with the football program is director of college advancement and performance, was set to see his contract expire at the end of this week.

What makes this development noteworthy is that Blackwell has been indefinitely suspended by the Spartans since early February.

Around that time, it was confirmed by the university that three still-unnamed MSU football players had been suspended after allegations of sexual assault were made against them last month.  An unnamed football staffer was suspended at the time as well; that staffer was subsequently identified as Blackwell.

A police investigation, as well as a Title IX probe, into the allegations continue.  Blackwell is not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault, but rather a non-sexual crime that’s connected to the investigation.

Mark Dantonio hadn’t spoken publicly about the allegations until earlier this week, and the head coach probably would’ve been better served to have kept it that way.