Thursday, November 29, 2012
THE BOBBY PETRINO DILEMMA
If Martin Luther King, Jr. read the contents of Bobby Petrino's character, he'd
roll over in his grave and run away from him faster than Usain Bolt. Petrino
is a known liar, cheater, and sell-out. Petrino destroyed what was left of his
reputation last spring when he turned the University of Arkansas upside down
with his lying and philandering ways with a woman more almost half his age.
But Petrino can coach. And in the high-stakes game of college football that
means something. With conference realignment and upcoming playoff format,
the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow will turn into Fort Knox. College football
is about two things: money and winning. Everyone knows they go hand in hand.
The question is: will any college athletic director across the land be willing to
take the slimy hand of Petrino and marry him to the school's football program.
A successful football program is vital to many athletic programs around the country.
The University Michigan generates almost $100 million in revenue which supports
every sport at the school. Quite simply, the football program at many schools, is
the lifeblood and heartbeat of the athletic department.
Petrino's coaching record offers proof that he can resurrect a program and take
it to national prominence as he did as Louisville and Arkansas. However, his record
of bad character has been well-documented. Several years ago while at Louisville,
he secretly interviewed for the job at Auburn where his "good" friend, Tommy
Tuberville was the head coach. And then Petrino lied about it. Petrino lied to
his boss with the Atlanta Falcons, Arthur Blank, about his interest in the Arkansas
job. He then left the Falcons without facing the players, choosing to pen a cheesy
note and then leaving it in their lockers.
Then came the mess at Arkansas where he crashed his motorcycle, lied about
who he was with, a young woman who Petrino pulled a lot of strings to hire, and
gave her a $20,000 "bonus". He lied, lied, and lied some more and the school
had no choice but to fire him.
In the SEC alone, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Auburn are looking to hire a new
coach, one with a proven record of winning. They are high-profile programs tied
to the BCS and huge payouts. Trouble is, they've all run into tough times.
Does an athletic director want to put his reputation and career on the line by
hiring a coach who is a proven sleaze bag? Will the promise of big dollars to
support the entire football program blind their senses enough to hire a coach
who has more baggage than an airport conveyor belt?
Last spring, Petrino orchestrated a reputation make-over. He went on ESPN
to shed a few crocodile tears, looked into the camera as if he was speaking to
every college athletic director in the country, and just about asked for forgiveness,
not to mention a job interview. It was pure Bobby Petrino.
Somebody will hire Petrino, that's for sure. When it comes to money and
winning, people have a way of looking past the soiled reputation and dirty
laundry. Texas-El Paso hired Mike Price after he went on a booze-fest complete
with strippers just days into what turned out to be a short-reign at Alabama.
Washington State hired Mike Leach after he got canned at Texas Tech for
abusing a player.
Petrino will get another chance to coach and another opportunity to show off
his reputation. Chances are, his marriage to his new school will end just like
most of the other ones, in an ugly divorce.