ACC Football Chat: About Arkansas Firing Bobby Petrino

Former Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino Messed Up. Is He the Only College Coach With Some Baggage, Though?

In our weekly chats, Mike and I discuss different topics pertaining to ACC football and then post the conversation up here. Disagree with us? By all means, share your thoughts below. Happy to continue to the debate.

This week’s topic: The Bobby Petrino scandal and subsequent firing at Arkansas

John: First off, what do u think of Bobby Petrino’s decision to be fired, rather than dealing with penalties from Arkansas? Dumb move on his part?

Mike: He chose to be fired. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

I can see why the school wanted to take action. His conduct reflected poorly on the school. But the Razorbacks are a solid team, and choosing to be fired just makes him look like more of a quitter, especially after the way he left the Atlanta Falcons. And the team was good enough that they probably couldve survived a game or two without him

J: … And don’t forget how he left Louisville, too. So what impact does this have on Arkansas? Footnote, or differencemaker?

M: He’s not a bad coach. If he misses a few cupcake games, no big deal, but not coming back at all will cause them to underperform.

J: If Doug Marrone had done the same, what would ur stance be?

M: Probably the same. Screwing around on your wife isn’t illegal, and he shouldn’t lose his job for it, even if the girl was a subordinate (unless his contract specifically forbids it). However, he’s a public figure, and his conduct makes his employer look bad, so a suspension is warranted. I’d say the same about Marrone, or anyone, really.J: Do the last 10 years or so, and the countless controversies around college sports, change the way these situations are handled? Has the microscope changed unfairly, and are coaches equipped to deal with that?

M: We live in an apology-driven society. And everyone loves a scandal, so the schools have to save face when this sort of thing happens. But fair or unfair, public figures are held under a very powerful microscope and are held to a much higher standard. So coaches should understand that going in.

J: What impact do things like this have on recruiting? Based on Mike leach’s hiring at Washington State, or Nick Saban-type situations or Butch Davis and his issues, it seems like kids only care about getting to the NFL. Am I over-simplifying it, though?

M: Too soon to tell, I think. I remember reading once that Peyton Manning always dreamed of playing college football, more so even than the NFL. That said, a blue-chip recruit will go where he thinks gives him the best shot to make it to the pros. An average recruit will go where he has the best chance of starting.

J: Definitely makes sense. So I guess in closing, would you let your own kid play college football someday, based on where things appear to be headed? Or are we at a point where you just kind of sign yourself (or kid) away for a chance at making it to the NFL, personality and/or recruiting violations, etc. be damned?

M: I love football, and I would have loved to have played in college. I would have no problem with my hypothetical son playing, although I’d try to steer him toward a respectable program. No program is perfect, but I still think the majority of coaches/ADs, etc. are OK.

J: Can’t sure I agree, but I guess it’s true until we’re proven wrong? Thanks for chatting, Mike.

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