Placed on paid administrative leave five days ago — after flat-out covering up and/or lying to his bosses about the presence of a female UA football employee as a passenger on the wrecked bike — the Arkansas head coach has painted the university into a public relations corner, with terms such as “sexual harassment” and “civil lawsuits” being flung about as possibilities, remote or not. The bottom line for athletic director Jeff Long, chancellor David Gearhart, the Board of Trustees and other university officials may come down to their collective interpretation of the language contained within Petrino’s contract worth a total of roughly $25 million.
Petrino’s contract with the University of Arkansas states the coach could be fired or punished for “engaging in conduct, as solely determined by the University, which is clearly contrary to the character and responsibilities of a person occupying the position of Head Football Coach or which negatively or adversely affects the reputation of the University or UAF’s athletics programs in any way.”
Bringing a football program into national prominence, and coming off back-to-back seasons that produced 21 wins in the rough-and-tumble SEC West, tends to buy a coach a bit longer rope than a losing one, though. It all would appear to come down to how much stench the university is willing to endure for the sake of remaining a winning football program.
Personally, if I were in the Arkansas administration’s shoes? Petrino would be gone. You can’t lie to your bosses and create an all-enveloping, very public maelstrom by way of a coverup and expect to keep your job. At least, you shouldn’t. Unless it violated school policy, the inappropriate relationship with a subordinate serves as nothing more than a titillating backdrop. The other stuff, the deceit and the Nixon-esque steps after the fact, that should not be tolerated by anyone, regardless of if an individual resides well on the good side of the won/loss ledger.
Just as Jim Tressel deserved to be fired for lying to both the NCAA and his bosses at the university and covering up his indiscretions, Petrino has earned the same fate.
Of course, your mileage may vary, which is actually the point of this whole exercise. What do you think? What should the University of Arkansas do about its Petrino situation? Vote below, and whine and/or sound-off below that in the comments section.
Illinois adds longtime NFL assistant; DC Hardy Nickerson given beefed-up title
There was some movement on the coaching staff front for Lovie Smith Friday.
Illinois announced earlier today that Gill Byrd has been hired by Smith as the Fighting Illini’s safeties coach. Byrd will also hold the title of passing-game coordinator.
“I’m very pleased to have Gill Byrd join the Illini coaching staff,” said Smith in a statement. “We’ve spent several seasons together in the NFL and I envision Gill bringing a great combination of knowledge and enthusiasm to our program. He will be a terrific influence on the young men he coaches, and, as good a coach as he is, he is probably an even better person.”
Byrd, who played his college football at San Jose State, has spent the past 19 seasons at the NFL level, coaching defensive backs during stops with the St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and, most recently, with the Buffalo Bills last season. This will mark Byrd’s first-ever job at any level of college football.
In addition to the hiring of Byrd, the football program also confirmed that Hardy Nickerson has been given the additional title of assistant head coach. Nickerson has served as the Illini’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for each of the past two seasons.
Texas to give Todd Orlando raise to $1.7 million per year
Everything’s bigger in Texas — including the raises.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that the University of Texas System Board of Regents are set to approve several athletics-related contracts next week, headlined by athletic director Chris Del Conte’s multi-million dollar six-year deal and a hefty raise for Longhorns defensive coordinator Todd Orlando.
While the money — some $90 million for the Aggies when all is said and done — is one of the more eye-catching parts of the story that are broken down, the comments from some at the school probably won’t go unnoticed by those in Fisher’s former conference.
“I’m not going to put words in Jimbo’s mouth, but there are resource issues in the ACC versus the SEC,” Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward told CBS Sports, answering part of the question as to why the national title-winning head coach made the move from one of the sport’s blue-bloods to one of the oft-labeled “sleeping giants.”
We’re guessing those in ACC territory will not take kindly to those comments and note that some schools in the league have no problem raising cash, such as Clemson when it comes to their new football facility that has everything from mini-golf to sleep specialists. They also would probably point out that the conference has just as many national titles in the past five years as the SEC does too.
Griffin was one of the best players in college football for UCF despite the fact that his left hand was amputated when he was younger because of a congenital condition called amniotic band syndrome. A tenacious pass rusher, he was the AAC’s defensive player of the year in 2016 and was recently named the defensive MVP of the Peach Bowl as his team capped off a perfect season.
The award honors “exemplary leadership” on and off the field from a Division I college football player and was presented by Witten’s foundation. The former Tennessee star and All-Pro tight end with the Dallas Cowboys started the award last year and serves somewhat as the college version of the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.