The Games People Play

Cause you’ve given up your sanity,
for your pride and your vanity
turned your back on humanity …
oh, the games people play …

The Games People Play
Joe South 1968

Will the University of Arkansas give up its sanity for the pride and vanity of winning football games?

Apparently, Bobby Petrino is intent on finding out.

Petrino, Razorback head football coach and serial scoundrel with the great offensive mind and even more offensive personality, skidded into his latest ethical lapse when he wrecked a motorcycle last week. Petrino emerged from the crash looking like he’d gone twelve rounds with the truth, but the real pain for him – and Arkansas fans – arrived when the police report of the accident noted that a young lady had been a passenger on the bike. That woman, a twenty-something former Hog volleyball player, was also an Athletic Department employee, hired by and reporting directly to Petrino. Following personal form, Petrino initally lied to Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long about the details of the crash until just before the police report went public.

Long now finds himself in the unenviable position of either firing a talented head coach, or retaining an untrustworthy employee.

Petrino’s record the past two seasons is 21-5 and includes a BCS appearance (Sugar Bowl). The Hogs return a strong nucleus from last year’s squad (including quarterback Tyler Wilson), host SEC West Division rivals Alabama and LSU this fall, and are likely to enter the 2012 campaign as a pre-season top ten team. Should Long fire Petrino and the team falter, the Athletic Director’s head may be the next to roll. Still, Jeff Long and the Arkansas administration must measure those factors with others.

Petrino leaves a trail of stench like a skunk. You can follow the smell from Louisville to Auburn to Atlanta, and now to Fayetteville.

Since I want readers of all ages to be able to enjoy The Campus Game, we will avoid a full review of all Bobby P’s moral lapses (those interested can read Pat Forde’s litany), and cut to the crux of the matter.

Jeff Long, along with the Arkansas administration and trustees, has every right to fire Petrino. At the least, his head coach broke the morals clause of his contract. Petrino also abused power by hiring someone with whom he had a personal relationship. He then blatantly misled Long by omitting details of his accident (thus causing the university to issue an inaccurate media release).

So … yes, the University of Arkansas should fire Petrino. But, the school probably will not because he’s winning football games.

Oh, the games people play.

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