FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 5: Head Coach Bobby Petrino of the Arkansas Razorbacks argues a call during a game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium on November 5, 2011in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Gamecocks 44 to 28. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Well, this is awkward. Remember that motorcycle accident that Arkansas football head coach Bobby Petrino was involved in? And remember how his family issued this statement afterward?
Coach Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident on Sunday evening that involved no other individuals. He is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. Our family appreciates respect for our privacy during the recovery and we are grateful for the thoughts of Razorback fans at this time.
It turns out that all of that is true -- except the "no other individuals" part. There were other individuals. And by other individuals, we mean an attractive blond woman who is not Bobby Petrino's wife.
But wait -- there's more. It turns out that Jessica Dorrell is not just a former volleyball player at Arkansas (one of 13 Razorbacks with 1,000 kills!) and an assistant director of the Razorbacks Foundation -- she was recently hired by Petrino to be the football program's student-athlete development coordinator.
We found all of that out not because the university or anyone reported it, but because the police report for the accident was finally released.
And the fun doesn't end there. It turns out that Jessica Dorrell is engaged to Josh Morgan, who appears to be the same Josh Morgan who serves as director of swimming and diving operations at Arkansas.
To be clear, we do not know for a fact that anything untoward happened here. It's not like Bobby Petrino was found with a pair of red panties in his lap, like a certain former athletics director. But the chain of events here raises far too many questions even if nothing happened between Petrino and Dorrell.
Did the university know that Dorrell was riding on the back of the motorcycle when they issued what now appears to be a false statement from Petrino's family? If not, why did Petrino lie to (or mislead) his employers? If so, why did the university lie to the public for Petrino?
More importantly, if something untoward was going on here, or if Petrino did lie to the university, what does Arkansas do?
This isn't exactly analogous to the Houston Nutt situation, because at least Nutt's eager texting of a reporter covering the Hogs -- and we should quickly point out that there was never any concrete proof that Nutt was romantically involved with her -- didn't take place with an athletics department employee. (Much less an athletics department employee engaged to another athletics department employee.) That is a different kettle of fish entirely.
But Petrino is the most successful head coach at Arkansas in years. So can the university overlook a lie, assuming the administration wasn't complicit in it to begin with, if there are no other issues in the case? Can they overlook it if there was something wrong happening?
There are a lot of questions that Arkansas fans and others have to pick through over the next few days, but the last two are the ones that could haunt a team seemingly on the rise in the SEC West.