FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas fired coach Bobby Petrino on Tuesday, saying he engaged in reckless behavior that included hiring his mistress and then intentionally misleading his bosses about everything from their relationship to her presence at the motorcycle accident that ultimately cost him his job.
The 51-year-old Petrino was injured in an April 1 motorcycle accident. He was put on paid leave last week after admitting he lied about the presence of the 25-year-old employee, Jessica Dorrell, who had been riding with him.
Athletic director Jeff Long says Petrino misled him and gave Dorrell $20,000 at one point, though he said he couldn't disclose what it was for. He says Petrino was fired "with cause" -- meaning he will not receive a multimillion-dollar buyout -- and there were no discussions about ways to keep Petrino at Arkansas.
"He made the decision to mislead the public, (and it) adversely affected the university and the football program," athletic director Jeff Long said at an evening news conference, choking up at one point as he discussed telling players the news. There was a "pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior to deceive me."
Petrino issued a lengthy apology and said he was focused on trying to heal his family.
"All I have been able to think about is the number of people I've let down by making selfish decisions," he said. "I chose to engage in an improper relationship. I also made several poor decisions following the end of that relationship and in the aftermath of the accident. I accept full responsibility for what has happened."