As I write this I have no idea what will result from Jeff Long’s review of Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle accident and the resulting fallout from Petrino’s admission that he lied about having a female member of his staff on the back of that motorcycle and that he had concealed an inappropriate relationship with that women.
I have talked to countless Razorback fans over the last few days, many of them over the weekend at Baum Stadium. Most of them have their fingers crossed that Long will find a way to discipline Petrino without dismissing him from his job.
Most of them will also admit that Petrino broke their hearts. These people had a pride in their football program that had not been known during almost two decades of frustration in the SEC. After 21 wins over the last two seasons Hog football has moved up to third in the pecking order in the best football conference in college football with better times possibly ahead. Most believed that it was only a matter of time until Petrino, with his drive, focus and unyielding personality, handed Arkansas fans a national championship.
Now they are reeling, trying to understand how he could jeopordize all of that by trying to conceal something that was much more easily addressed than the mess he finds himself in now.
Why did you do it coach? Didn’t they matter to you more than that? By “they” I mean your family, your players, the coaches on your staff and their families and yes, the fans. You remember them. They’re the ones who were going to flock to the stadium over the next few years generating the revenue that would help build that 40 million dollar football operations center you said was necessary. That money was also going to likely result in an expanded football stadium to the tune of almost 100 million dollars.
You made Arkansas a football power in the SEC but with an incredible lapse of judgement you may have thrown it all away.
Jeff Long told us that he thinks you can get that trust back with him and with the fans. Maybe so. It’s not going to be easy if you get the chance.
If you do end up coaching the Hogs again please keep in mind that it’s not really your program. The fans own it. They build the facilities. They pay for the scholarships and coaches salaries. They loan the program to you in the hopes that you will value it as much as they do.
If you did not understand that before hopefully you do now. There aren’t too many places in America where people are so willing to forgive someone who did something to them that is so close to being unforgivable.
Razorback fans don’t deserve this and right now you don’t deserve them. Maybe you can change that if you get the chance.