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Where Was Long While Petrino Hired His Mistress At Arkansas?

When Bobby Petrino hired Jessica Dorrell as the student-athlete development coordinator for his football program, he did more than hire a woman he’d been having an “inappropriate relationship” with… he put his own boss, athletic director Jeff Long, on the hot seat.

A review of the 159 resumes Arkansas received shows that Dorrell was not necessarily the most qualified candidate for the job.  That happens.  If resumes were the only things that mattered, interviews would never be conducted.  However, a review of the hiring process shows that it was actually sped up at Long’s request, despite regular UA hiring procedures.

And that is a big deal.

According to the school’s policy — in accordance with an affirmative action policy — the interview process cannot begin until 30 days have passed from the time a job is posted.  The job Dorrell eventually landed was posted on March 4th.

But on March 9th, Arkansas’ AD wrote to the assistant director of affirmative action at Arkansas, Danielle Wood, and asked that the process be sped up in this case.  On March 12th, Wood asked the human resources manager for the UA athletic department, Carrie DeBriyn, why the process should be fast-tracked.

“Coach Petrino would like to request to interview early due to needing a Player Development Coordinator as quickly as possible,” DeBriyn responded in writing.  “Fantasy Football Camp preparation, Red White Game preparation and all recruiting coordination is falling short due to not having this position filled.”

Later that day, Wood approved the speed-up.  Dorrell — it turns out — was already interviewing for the job by the time the fast-track plan was actually approved.

Sex and motorcycle wrecks and phone records and bikini models make for big headlines.  So do coaching searches and the decision whether to go with an interim coach or hire a brand new man in April.  We get that.

But eventually Long will have to explain how Petrino’s actions took place right under his nose.  And in the case of the hiring process acceleration, with his actual blessing and aid.

Long has done a tremendous job at Arkansas.  He’s raised money, built facilities, and excited fans with his big name hires.

In this case, however, the University of Arkansas could face several potential lawsuits due to the actions that took place in a department that he is charged with overseeing.  Yes, Petrino is the man who tied a noose around the UA department.  But it was Long who gave him rope enough to do so.

At some point you can bet Long will have to address the subject and that he will say new safeguards have been or will be put in place to better monitor the hiring practices of his subordinates.  But that won’t save his department or the university the cost of legal fees tied to the hire Long allowed Petrino to make on a sped-up schedule.

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