On Monday, my friend James asked, “do you think Bobby Petrino will be fired?”
At the time I said no, thinking that his mistakes were bad but not fire-worthy: after all a man is within his rights to ride a motorcycle and be an adulterer, regardless of whether it is morally wrong and irresponsible.
But not anymore: Bobby Petrino did not just crash a motorcycle with his girlfriend. He hired her for a job in the football program without properly assessing her qualifications and then gave her a lump cash payment. For that, he had to be sacked.
Jeff Long, the University of Arkansas Athletic Director, hinted as much, stating that he did not fire Petrino for his martial indiscretion; he terminated him because he abused his power, misappropriated university positions, and lied about doing both.
Now, Long’s firing decision makes perfect sense. Petrino is a gifted football coach with an innovative football system. He built Arkansas into a national power in the Southeastern Conference. That earned him a lot of run but not enough to get out of this hole. After all, how could Long ever trust Petrino again after he lied to him more than once during the duration of this incident?
It’s simple: he couldn’t.
So who can Arkansas hire to replace Petrino? The Razorbacks are a national power with elite talent but it’s not a prestige job like some of the top college football programs. Most likely, Long will hire a younger, innovative coach from either a very successful mid-major program or a successful lower level big-time school who is very eager to land a dream job. But Long has a history of aggressive, surprising moves, including hiring Petrino himself, so he could shock everyone and look in another direction.
And what about Petrino’s options; where will the coach go? The NFL is closed to him after his awful exit from the Atlanta Falcons during the Michael Vick dogfighting incident. The top programs in college football won’t want him after this disgraceful exit, particularly combined with his unhealthy habit of lying to his bosses. Most likely, the athletic director of an underachieving BCS program will hire him to turn it around, just like he did with Arkansas.
Here you can read Bobby Petrino's Farewell Statement.
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