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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Petrino scandal not comparable to Penn State, Syracuse

  • Some national and even state media have compared the Bobby Petrino scandal to that of recent scandals at Penn State and Syracuse, where assistant coaches Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine allegedly molested young boys ¬ a felony.

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  • Some national and even state media have compared the Bobby Petrino scandal to that of recent scandals at Penn State and Syracuse, where assistant coaches Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine allegedly molested young boys ¬ a felony.
    What Petrino did is not morally or ethically right, but it’s far from a felony. It’s not even a misdemeanor. In today’s world, an older powerful man having an affair with a young attractive woman is a fairly common practice. It’s not right but it doesn’t compare to raping a young boy ¬ at all.
    Yet, we continue to hear from talk show hosts like Sirrius SMX Sports’ Chris Childers, a national idiot, refer to Petrino as a "scum bag." Arkansas would be a disgrace to keep such an individual. He will not be able to recruit and lawsuits will come in bunches. Meanwhile, Childers and company want to wait until all the facts come out regarding Sandusky. He and former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno would never be called "scum bags" on that show regardless of the facts.
    Louisville Coach Rick Pitino, who just led the Cardinals to the Final Four, would be a much better comparison for these media morons. Like Petrino, Pitino had an affair, was caught and publicly scrutinized. Unlike Pitino, Petrino did not cover up an abortion but a motorcycle wreck. Unlike Pitino, Petrino hired his mistress only days before the scandal broke, making possible lawsuits a reality the university must consider strongly. Unlike Pitino, Petrino did not pay off people to cover up the situation…at least we don’t think so at this point.
    Petrino also lied in an attempt to keep the situation from his wife, not necessarily Athletic Director Jeff Long and the Razorback Nation. Does this make it right? Certainly not. Does this make it an offense worthy of termination? Certainly. Would it be in Arkansas’ best interest to fire Petrino? Absolutely not!
    Louisville didn’t fire Pitino and he led them to the Final Four this season with hardly a whisper of his affair. Right or wrong, winning and the money that comes with it cures a lot of shortcomings.
    Long must take a strong stance by removing some hiring power from Petrino, perhaps make a few contract revisions and so forth in order to make sure Petrino understands his mistake and the magnitude. Firing the man would set the Razorback program back ten years, much like the firing of Nolan Richardson has done to the basketball program. However, I was in favor of that firing only because Nolan appeared tired of the job.
    Sure, it will be tough for a while, with fans and sports talk heads all over the nation talking about how Arkansas is despicable for not firing Petrino. But, when it’s all said and done, they will be talking about how the Hogs made a top-tier bowl for a third straight season.
    Page 2 of 2 - On the other hand, if Long decides to fire Petrino, another school, perhaps in the SEC like Tennessee, will jump at the chance to hire Petrino and reap the rewards of top-notch bowls each season.
    Arkansas also has those who are worried about recruiting. Petrino just lost the No. 1 recruit in the nation to Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel, who was arrested for a DWI only months before signing day. Maybe the Hogs would have landed Dorial Green-Beckham had this come out before signing day. Who knows what recruits are thinking these days?
    (Will Gilbert is sports editor for The Sun-Times. Send comments to sports@thesuntimes.com)
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