University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino has been placed on paid administrative leave by the university, after he failed to disclose that 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, a recent hire to the football staff, was his motorcycle companion during last Sunday's crash that put him in a neck brace. The university plans to conduct a full investigation and then decide on further punishment for Petrino, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long announced Petrino's suspension in a press conference late Thursday night. Linebackers coach Taver Johnson, who joined the team less than three months ago, will take over as interim head coach.
Petrino also released a statement:
The state police report today provides an accurate description of my accident, which includes details that had not publically come to light prior to the report being issued. I regret that I have not publically acknowledged a passenger on the vehicle. I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell's name being revealed. In my press conference, I referred to her simply as ‘a lady'. My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public. In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I've acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.
I apologize to my wife, Becky, and our four children, Chancellor (David) Gearhart, Jeff Long, the Board of Trustees, University administration, my coaching staff, student-athletes and the entire state of Arkansas. I have been humbled by the outpouring of concern and get-well wishes. I apologize to the Razorback Nation for the attention my actions have brought to the University of Arkansas and our program. I will fully cooperate with the University throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my Athletic Director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.