Another day, so, as expected, another detail or two has surfaced in the soap opera that marked the end of Bobby Petrino‘s tenure at Arkansas.
Documents released Thursday, including 25 pages of handwritten notes athletic director Jeff Long kept of conversations with Petrino during the midst of the scandal, reveal that, at least according to the coach, Petrino’s sexual relationship with former football Jessica Dorrell began sometime in October but ended at some point in early February.
The affair, again according to Petrino ended more than a month before Dorrell was hired by UA, with the two deciding that they should just be friends. The released documents included flight manifests, however, which showed Dorrell accompanied Petrino on several trips in the two months after the sexual part of the relationship had ended.
Long himself had doubts that his now-former coach was being completely forthright about the status of the relationship, asking in the notes “[w]hy would she say she expected the relationship to continue if the motorcrash didn’t occur?” Dorrell’s hiring became official just a few days before the motorcycle crash that triggered Petrino’s downward slide toward a dismissal.
Petrino was fired earlier this month by the university, in part for his failure to disclose a conflict of interest during Dorrell’s hiring process as well as concealing a $20,000 payment to the woman. The university concluded that Petrino gave Dorrell an “unfair and undisclosed” advantage when she applied for and received her job as the student-athlete development coordinator for football. Dorrell was chosen for the position over more than 100 applicants.
Long noted that Petrino “never thought the gift was a problem or the relationship.”
Petrino was officially dismissed by the university with cause on April 10, meaning he was not entitled to any type of buyout written into his contract. Dorrell “resigned” April 17 and received a settlement of nearly $14,000.