Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jessica Dorrell resigns from Razorback Athletic Department

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 7:13 PM

ILL-FATED COUPLE: Petrino and Dorrell at Razorback event in recent months.
  • ILL-FATED COUPLE: Petrino and Dorrell at Razorback event in recent months.
Had to happen.

Jessica Dorrell, the Bobby Petrino girllfriend whose undisclosed relationship cost him his $3.6 million-a-year job as University of Arkansas Razorback football coach, has resigned from her job as student-athlete development coordinator for the football team, less than a month after she took the $55,700-a-year job.

Dorrell, 25, was riding a motorcycle with Petrino when he crashed April 1. He kept her presence a secret from athletic officials to obscure what he said was a previous relationship. Her involvement came out in a police report April 5 and Athletic Director Jeff Long fired him April 10 for dishonesty and failing to disclose the conflict in hiring Dorrell from 159 applicants. She had been placed on leave. She was hired in March after working in fund-raising for the Razorback Foundation. A Texas native, she played volleyball for the Razorbacks and earned an MBA at UA. Before the controversy erupted, the Razorback Foundation had announced she was to be married to Josh Morgan, who works with the Hog swimming and diving team. The status of that is unknown to me.

No wrongdoing was alleged. It was agreed it was best for her to move on. She gets $13,933.75, which will be paid by the Razorback Foundation. The university gets her promise not to sell her story or do anything commercially that would harm the reputation of the UA and she releases the UA from liability.

She also gets a terse recommendation letter from Jeff Long, which you can see on the link below. It says she was hired March 23 and resigned "in good standing" April 17.

Here's the formal agreement.

The news release issued today:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas announced today that Jessica Dorrell resigned late this afternoon as the football program’s student-athlete development coordinator, effective immediately.
In making the announcement, athletics director Jeff Long said both he and Ms. Dorrell agreed her resignation was in the best interest of both parties.

“While Ms. Dorrell had a legitimate right to apply for and accept a position within the football program, the circumstances surrounding the former coach’s decision to hire her compromised her ability to be effective in such a position,” he said. “She and I believe she should have the opportunity to move on.”

As part of her resignation, Ms. Dorrell agreed she would not attempt to sell or profit from her affiliation with Razorback Athletics. The University will pay Ms. Dorrell approximately $14,000 as part of a settlement and resolution of all matters between the parties.

There are no immediate plans to re-open or advertise the job opportunity. Those duties will be assigned to other staff members for the time being.

I learned by the way that, on account of internal procedures, Dorrell had not yet filled out an annual conflict of interest form required of university employees. They are required on an annual basis, not at hiring. So there is no document responsive to my request for it, a spokesman said. The agreement says Dorrell agrees to release of other materials "giving rise" to this agreement, within FOI limits. I've asked for them, but don't know at this point if any exist. Normally, personnel records are not open to review except in cases of firing or suspension. Here, the agreement provides some indication of openness, but the university might also claim there are no public records, under definition of the FOI, to release.

Reader notes that the settlement is three months' pay, a modest severance, and Dorrell takes little else away except a gag order and a hard time seeking new work. She could have, in today's tabloid world, made a lot more than $14,000 somewhere, rest assured. Might I say that she leaves with some quiet dignity, whatever else went before?

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