ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, April 23, 2012

You Say Morals, I Say Conflict of Interest, Bobby Petrino, Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

PetrinoAccording to ESPN, on April 1st, the University of Arkansas's head football coach, Bobby Petrino (pictured) was in a motorcycle accident.  He suffered four broken ribs, a crcked vertebra in his neck and facial abrasions.  He failed to disclose that he was not alone on that motorcycle.  The married father of four was out on a joy-ride with his 25-year-old mistress (and employee).

On Apirl10th the University fired Petrino for conduct that violated the University’s conflict of interest policy and for refusing to admit, despite numerous chances to do so, to the nature of his relationship with his passenger. 

Petrino’s employment agreement with the University allows the University’s athletic director, Jeff Long, to suspend or fire the coach for conduct that “negatively or adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas’s athletics programs.” 

Petrino's passenger was hired just four days before the motorcycle crash that exposed the couple's inappropriate relationship.  Petrino was in the middle of a seven-year contract with the University under which his salary averaged $3.53 million per year.  Petrino’s contract guaranteed him $18 million from the Razorback Foundation if the university terminated him for convenience.  However, because he was terminated for cause, he gets nothing.  According to ESPN, Petrino has apologized and, although he has the option, has said that he will not appeal his firing nor will he seek any of the $18 million buyout that would have been part of his contract had he not been terminated for cause.

[JT & Christina Phillips]

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