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Arkansas puts Bobby Petrino on leave for lying about accident

  • By Associated Press
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas put football coach Bobby Petrino on paid leave Thursday after he failed to disclose he had been riding with a female employee half his age when his motorcycle skidded off the road over the weekend.

Petrino, who coached the Atlanta Falcons during the 2007 NFL season before quitting after 13 games to take the job at Arkansas, apologized and said he had been concerned about protecting his family and keeping an "inappropriate relationship from becoming public."

"I will fully cooperate with the university throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my athletic director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks," he said in a statement issued by the university.

Athletic director Jeff Long announced the decision at a late-night news conference and said he had no timeline in determining the 51-year-old Petrino's future with the Razorbacks.

"I'm at the beginning of the review. I don't know what I'm going to find," Long said.

Long said he was disappointed that he didn't hear about the passenger -- former Arkansas volleyball player and current football program employee Jessica Dorrell, who is 25 -- until Petrino called him Thursday afternoon, minutes before a police report was released that disclosed her presence at the accident.

Petrino, who is married with four children, didn't mention he had a passenger during a news conference on Tuesday, two days after Sunday's accident, and a school statement that day quoted Petrino's family as saying "no other individuals" were involved.

Petrino, who wasn't wearing a helmet, was hospitalized, but has since returned to practice. He will not be cited for the accident that occurred near the small town of Crosses on a road popular with motorcyclists.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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