College football: Texting kept Petrino, mistress in constant contact
Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 12, 2012
By Kurt Voigt
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino and his mistress were in frequent contact over the past six months, sometimes calling or texting each other dozens of times in a single day — including game days, according to a review of his business cellphone records by The Associated Press.
Petrino was fired Tuesday night for failing to disclose his relationship with Jessica Dorrell, a 25-year-old former Razorbacks volleyball player he hired last month without disclosing his conflict of interest or the fact he had once paid her $20,000. Athletic director Jeff Long said he had determined their relationship had been ongoing for a “significant” amount of time, but he did not say for how long.
The cellphone records show the two were in close contact at least as far back as Sept. 12. The university provided nearly seven months of Petrino’s business cellphone records and that is the first date listed. Among the findings:
Petrino, a married father of four, exchanged 91 texts with Dorrell on Sept. 13 and 84 texts with her over five hours on Oct. 28, the day before a game at Vanderbilt. On Oct. 17, the two swapped 73 text messages, and on four days in a row in the week before a loss to eventual national champion Alabama, Petrino called Dorrell early — at 5:52 a.m., 6:35 a.m., 5:49 a.m. and 7:55 a.m.
The day Arkansas beat Troy, the two exchanged 70 texts.
The 51-year-old Petrino built Arkansas into a national power, including a 21-5 record over the past two seasons and a No. 5 ranking in last season’s final AP poll. He was expected to lead the Hogs on a national title run next season, but his career was effectively ended on April 1.
That day, Petrino and Dorrell went for a motorcycle ride on a two-lane highway southeast of Fayetteville and skidded off the road. Petrino was injured — four broken ribs, a cracked neck vertebra, scrapes and bruises — but Dorrell was not.
Petrino didn’t disclose her presence on the ride until a police report was issued on April 5; he told his boss, athletic director Jeff Long, 20 minutes before the report was released to the public.
The cell phone records show that Petrino was on the phone with Dorrell at the very moment the report was issued, at about 3:30 p.m. Central time. And he spoke with Dorrell 11 times in all that day.
The records were obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. They also show that on April 1, the day of the crash, Petrino and Dorrell talked for 16 minutes in the early afternoon before the crash at 6:45 p.m.
The two had a 22-minute conversation the day following the accident.
Petrino has issued a lengthy apology and said he was focused on trying to make amends to his family.