V and I live in the grand state of Arkansas. U of A Razorback football is huge throughout the state, although I don’t care two hoots and a holler about it. Around here you see Razorback clothing, Razorback purses, Razorback s%*t on cars, Razorback everything. Silliness.
I remain mostly clueless about the entire sports program, thankfully. I cannot think of any more boring activity than watching a Razorback game on television unless it’s being dragged to one in person.
A couple of weeks ago at work my brother said, “Can you believe it about Petrino?”
“Who?” (yes, I am that clueless). Turns out it’s “our” head coach. (er, now former head coach).
“Petrino!” he chided. “Don’t you follow any news? He had a motorcycle wreck and had a young sweetie on the back. I think it’s going to be a big deal.”
It was a big deal. An investigation was launched and he was dismissed, losing a contract worth $2.3 million a year (amazing, our priorities).
And, yes, he did have a young sweetie on the bike with him. Here’s the happy couple:
She’s, oh, half his age—maybe closer to a third his age. And, by the way, she was an employee of the university. He hired her!, which makes this really bad, legally as well as morally.
Athletic Director Jeff Long did a stellar job explaining the University’s position concerning the firing. I did not know who he was, either, prior to this. I have a great deal of respect for what he had to say.
Here is the press conference, if you care to spend the five minutes or so to watch. Toward the end, Mr. Long becomes very emotional as he addresses the topic of our duty to the young people on our sports teams. I agree wholeheartedly with him and applaud his actions, especially when he pointedly says that Petrino does not have the character to lead our students. (The video is more interesting than a football game, I promise…)
What I hear in Mr. Long’s talk is a tale of total arrogance by this Petrino dude. On MY money (as a citizen of the state).
This guy had it all…a lovely wife, children, a cushy job in a state which practically (idiotically, in my humble opinion) worships its football coach. It never ceases to amaze me that someone will throw everything away for a “relationship” that could not have much of a chance to be anything more than a fling.
Of course, it comes out that he also gave this chick $20,000.00. My, money can buy the ego boost, can’t it? Look at him…what else can she see in him except money and power? Amazing. (And, by the way, what does that make her?)
I tend to disapprove of the over-emphasis of sports in our institutes of higher learning. I am somewhat persuaded that they have their place when I hear how much money they rake in for the schools (so long as I am not forced to watch the games). But then things like this make me rethink. If the “importance” of the sport is so great that we attract and to some extent tolerate (until there is a public scandal too open to ignore) giant egos that lead to this kind of family-wrecking antics, I’m not sure it’s worth it. If this is higher education, then I”m not for it. Are we modeling that money/power can allow any behavior?
But, then, I’m just an old grouch when it comes to football, anyway…C.
PS - For other “Hall of Infamy” inductees, do a search on this blog for John Edwards (that trial is interesting, isn’t it?); Tiger Woods; Mel Gibson; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Anthony Weiner, to name a few of my inductees.