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Hog A.D. Long In The Hot Seat, Too

Not only has Bobby Petrino left a mess on Arkansas AD Jeff Long’s desk, but he’s warmed the seat beneath his boss’ rump, too.  Long is now in a wildly unenviable position.

He can either:


A)  Choose to keep Petrino, face a possible lawsuit from Jessica Dorrell if she decides to go that route, and take a beatdown from the national media, allowing the school’s reputation to be tarnished.

or…

B)  Choose to fire Petrino, clean the university’s name, and tick off the vast majority of the Razorback fanbase.


I happen to live in East Tennessee.  I’ve also lived in Kentucky, Ohio and North Carolina for those who want to claim I’m a fan of one team or another.

But as an East Tennessean I can tell you that there is a sizable chunk of Tennessee’s fanbase that still doesn’t believe former hoops coach Bruce Pearl had to be fired.  They literally don’t get it.  Can’t grasp it.  Can’t wrap their heads around the fact that a coach facing a three-year show-cause penalty — with a staff also facing a one-year suspension — had to be let go.

And as a former resident of Columbus, Ohio, I can tell you that more than a few Ohio State fans have told me they’re angry that Jim Tressel was relieved of his duties by the OSU administration.  Nevermind the five-year show-cause penalty the NCAA handed him.

Hell, fans literally rioted in State College, Pennsylvania when Penn State University fired Joe Paterno… despite the fact that the school — thanks in part to Paterno’s lack of action and lack of follow-ups — is now facing potential lawsuits out the proverbial ying-yang.

Oh, if Long does what it looks like he’ll have to do for the sake of the University of Arkansas from a legal standpoint — and that’s axe Petrino — he’ll be pilloried by folks in plastic Hog hats who just wanna win football games.

Andy Staples of SI.com weighs in on Long’s situation in an excellent piece right here.  Heck, if we’d seen this piece first we might’ve just linked you to it and not bothered writing our own detailed explanation of Petrino’s troubles moments ago.

In our piece, we listed a number of men who were undone by cover-ups.  But there was another former SEC football coach who covered up and survived anyway.  Take it away, Mr. Staples:


“Long is not the first athletic director to face this type of predicament.  In May 1999, Alabama AD Bob Bockrath’s coach, Mike Dubose, lied about a relationship with a secretary after she filed a harassment complaint.  Ultimately, the truth came out and the school had to pay the women $350,000.  Did Alabama fire DuBose?  Nope.  It fired Bockrath.  (DuBose went on to win the 1999 SEC title and himself fired in 2000 for losing.)”


If there’s someone in a spot as tight as Petrino’s today, it’s his boss, Long.  And Petrino’s the man who put him there.

Now thousands of Atlanta Falcons and University of Louisville fans can correctly say to Long, “Told you so.”

Long’s gamble on Petrino paid off for a while, but boy that bubble has burst today.

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Fans Should Be Praying Penn State Won’t Go Bowling Vs The SEC

For decades, the Penn State brand had been one of the greatest in college football.

Not anymore.

Now I’m not one of those people calling for the death penalty for the Nittany Lion athletic department, the razing of the school, or anything else far over-the-top.  Bad people do bad things all over the place.  From churches to hospitals to, yes, college campuses.  If those bad people get the boot from Penn State, then I don’t believe current athletes on the State College campus should be punished for the deeds of others.

That said, you can bet every SEC football program is praying right now that it doesn’t get paired with Penn State during bowl season.  Such a matchup would insure that said SEC team — the players and the coaches — would be peppered with questions about Penn State, Joe Paterno, protection of children, pedophilia, etc, etc, etc.

That’s not a fun way to spend the holidays.  And no school should want to be connected to the saga playing out in Happy Valley… even if that connection is innocent, distant and short-lived.

Trouble is — the SEC has three bowl ties to the Big Ten (Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, Gator Bowl).  The Nittany Lions have played five different SEC squads in bowl games in the past 14 seasons (Florida last year, LSU in 2009, Tennessee in 2006, Auburn in 2002 and Kentucky in 1998).

Working in the SEC’s favor is the fact that most bowl committees aren’t going to want to attach themselves to PSU’s scandal anymore than league schools will want to.  At 8-2 right now — and who knows how Penn State will finish the season? — the Nittany Lions could drop all the way to the TicketCity or Meineke bowls in the Big Ten pecking order, which would put them below any possible meetings with the SEC.

Still, it’s a situation that bears watching.  And you can bet athletic directors across the Southeastern Conference are doing just that.

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