Hey, Jeff Long whips out a can of righteous indignation on Bobby Petrino’s ass!
… The termination letter Long sent to Petrino was released by the school Friday and it had more specifics.
”(Y)ou deliberately failed to tell me that you had engaged in an extramarital affair with Ms. Dorrell over a period of several months leading up to your recommendation to hire her,” Long wrote. ”If you had been forthcoming with me about the true nature of your relationship, I would not have approved the hiring.”
Long also said Petrino ”admitting giving $20,000 cash to Ms. Dorrell as a ‘gift.’ Ms. Dorrell used the money to purchase a black Acura during the first week that she worked for the football program.
”Among other concerns relating to this ‘gift,’ you should have disclosed this fact to me … but you failed to do so,” Long wrote.
The athletic director ripped Petrino for ”poor judgment” and said that by lying to his boss and the public he had left the school with the task of ”restoring the reputation of our institution and our athletics programs.”
”I recognize that you are a very talented football coach,” Long wrote, ”but the university may not disregard your conduct or sacrifice its integrity, reputation and principles.”
Methinks he doth protest too much.
If you take a look at the gory details surrounding Dorrell’s hire (nicely catalogued here), this is what you find:
- Petrino sought a waiver to circumvent a university affirmative action policy requiring that the job be posted for at least 30 days before interviews could commence.
- Dorrell’s first interview was scheduled even before the waiver was granted by the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance.
- Jeff Long pushed along a request from Petrino and sent a memo to Danielle Wood, the school’s assistant director of affirmative action, asking if interviews for the position could begin even though the job had been listed for just five days, not the required 30. “We feel that flexibility is needed,” Long wrote. [Emphasis added.]
- From 159 applicants, three finalists were identified: Ben Wilkerson, Tiffany Fields and Dorrell. According to the resumes they submitted to Arkansas, Wilkerson and Fields had football backgrounds. Dorrell’s resume did not mention football.
- The job description also listed “master’s degree in related field” as a preferred qualification. Again, Dorrell was the only finalist not to meet that standard.
- Dorrell’s resume, unlike the other two, makes no specific mention of the job requirements, but does mention other traits, like “fundraising skills” that are not part of the Arkansas job listing.
- On March 19, Long requested a “variance to the affirmative action hiring process” (requiring the job to be posted for at least 30 days) from Wood, the assistant director of affirmative action, so that a candidate could be hired immediately. “Any delay could result in missing a critical recruiting period,” Long wrote in the memo. [Emphasis added.]
Taken as a whole, that chain of events is more damning for Long than it is Petrino. The coach was just acting like a horndog on a mission. Long doesn’t have that excuse. There are only two explanations for his conduct: he’s either incredibly stupid or he was Bobby Petrino’s enabler. You tell me which makes more sense.
I’ve been involved in personnel decisions for more than two decades. It’s crazy to think you can bypass the process, allow a clearly less qualified candidate – particularly a young, attractive one – to grab a job and not expect anyone to notice. Fact patterns like this set tongues wagging all over the office. They’re just too blatant to ignore. You can bet there was plenty of loose talk going on about Petrino and Long. Even if there hadn’t been a motorcycle wreck, this would have gotten out at some point.
So Jeff Long is either kidding himself or kidding us.