NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Bobb...

Happier times ...

On April 1, Bobby Petrino was the head coach of a highly successful Arkansas Razorbacks football team.  Nine days later, he was out of a job.  After a motorcycle accident that uncovered the presence of a mistress, Petrino was first placed on leave and then fire for cause (meaning he does not receive a buyout).  Bobby Petrino is most likely desperately looking for another job, since it’s probably a bit uncomfortable in the Petrino house at the moment.

Before the firing, fans gathered in support of Petrino.  One woman said that she supported Petrino, but had no sympathy for the woman, as she knew what she was getting into.  Huh?  A guy cheats on his wife with another woman, and he’s somehow less to blame than the mistress?  Pretty sure it takes two to tango.

Was the a necessary course of action for the school?  Yes.  On March 28, long after he began a relationship with the woman, he hired her for a job within the athletic department.  The position garnered 159 applicants, and the person Petrino though was best suited for the job was the woman he was having an affair with.  That’s quite a coincidence.  He was so sure he was making the right choice, in fact, that the candidate search was “shorter than our normal affirmative action hiring process”, to quote Athletic Director Jeff Long.  Reading between the lines, Athletic Director Long is saying that Petrino failed to do due diligence in the search and simply picked the person he wanted, regardless of how her qualifications stacked up to those of other candidates.

Maybe it’s just me, but this seems wildly inappropriate.  It’s an epic conflict of interest, and I’m guessing that 158 other people may be looking for attorneys at the moment.

Even if we put this aside for the moment, it’s not as if improper conduct around members of the opposite sex have never cost anyone a job before.  Larry Eustachy won a national coach of the year award when he was the basketball coach at Iowa State.  Pictures surfaced of him partying with students at road games (students at the opponent’s school) and posing for pictures with women.  Conduct unbecoming a coach?  Definitely.  But I’d say it’s step below what Petrino is accused of.

From another perspective, I see the firing as a good thing.  No longer do wins serve as a mitigating factor for improper conduct.  In the past several years, successful coaches Mike Leach, Mark Mangino, and of course Joe Paterno have been fired for off-field actions.  While you can argue about the merits of the charges levied against them, the fact that the universities fired them is an indication that there are still administrators who will not let coaches go rogue, who will put their foot down and place the reputation of the institution of higher learning – and the future of the student-athletes – ahead of a few extra wins and a few million dollars.

There’s a word for that.

Integrity.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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