It was interesting to see UA Chancellor David Gearhart openly discuss the firing of Razorback football coach Bobb Petrino was such honesty. For him and those he gathered around him to help make the final decision hat petrino had to go, the matters of fundamental honesty and morals seemed paramount.
“The moral issue was important to all of us,” Gearhart told a reporter. “The affair was not good. We didn’t like that, but that was a personal thing between Bobby and his wife and his friend. But he had also given her money,” which could have been a violation of NCAA rules. Beyond the rules, however, Gearhart said he and others in charge at the state’s largest and most influential university could hardly believe what they had learned.
“There’s disappointment … then shock,” Gearhart said. “There were some days I was very angry.” Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long went on statewide television to announce Petrino’s firing, knowing many in the state could be upset, the news account said. The chancellor said he and Long knew inside that there was just no way to protect the coach from himself and his stunningly poor choices.
“You have to go with your gut that it just isn’t right,” the chancellor said. Other members of the chancellor’s inner circle concurred. ”It would have been difficult to sleep if we had done anything else,” Gearhart said. I’d say that he, Long and others were much more admired for handling the scandal the way they did (and should have) than trying to pull some kind of Penn State cover-up and hope it might somehow succeed. The world sees how well that approach worked and the devastating aftermath that will haunt that institution for decades, or longer.