Records show Petrino, mistress in frequent contact
April 11, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – 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.
One of those calls included the very moment when the state police report that led to the end of Petrino’s Arkansas career was released.
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.
Records obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request clearly show Petrino remained in close contact with Dorrell following the April 1 motorcycle accident in which Petrino suffered four broken ribs, a cracked neck vertebra and scrapes and bruises.
That day, Petrino and Dorrell went for a motorcycle ride on a two-lane highway southeast of Fayetteville and skidded off the road. Petrino and Dorrell talked for 16 minutes earlier that day before the crash at 6:45 p.m., and they also had a 22-minute conversation the following day – while Petrino was still in the hospital recovering.
Petrino’s accident report was disclosed by state police on April 5, and the two talked 11 times that day. That included a pair of 2-minute calls around 3:30 p.m. that afternoon, which is when police released the report.
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Later that evening, Petrino exchanged four calls with his agent, Russ Campbell, totaling 10 minutes.
The cellphone records show Petrino and Dorrell 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. They exchanged 26 texts the day Arkansas beat Mississippi State and four following the Razorbacks’ loss to LSU on Nov. 25.
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 – the day of the accident.
Dorrell wasn’t injured in the crash, and Petrino didn’t disclose her presence on the ride until the police report was issued April 5; he told his boss, athletic director Jeff Long, about 20 minutes before the report was released to the public.
The records show Petrino’s six-minute call to Long at 3:11 p.m., the call during which the coach first told Long of his inappropriate relationship with Dorrell and her presence at the accident.
Petrino has issued a lengthy apology and said he was focused on trying to make amends to his family.