The scandal involving Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino has divided the team’s fanbase, with many supporting the 51-year-old coach.
A rally was organized in support of Petrino Monday afternoon but only 200 people showed up. That’s a pretty paltry showing of support for the coach of a team in the football-mad SEC, especially considering that he led the Razorbacks to a record of 11-2 and the No. 5 ranking in 2011. He has also guided Arkansas to a 21-5 record during the past two seasons.
Petrino is in hot water after he didn’t disclose that a 25-year-old female football program employee was riding with him during an April 1 motorcycle accident. He happens to be married with four children and admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with the young woman, identified as Jessica Dorrell, a former Arkansas volleyball player.
The coach has since been put on paid leave while the school’s athletic director Jeff Long decides to do about the situation.
Petrino is said to be a very private guy, but his hiring in 2007 seemed to galvanize an Arkansas fanbase that felt stabbed in the back by Houston Nutt’s departure for Mississippi. Since then it hasn’t been all roses, but the program certainly seems headed in the right direction even as Petrino’s personal life has gone off the tracks.
The fact that just 200 fans showed up at a rally to support him may not mean anything, but still, that’s not a good sign for Petrino’s future in Fayetteville.