Photographs by Michael Woods
University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long addresses the media during a press conference April 5 to answer questions about Bobby Petrino's motorcycle accident on April 1. The Reynolds Foundation cited Long's leadership as the reason for a $1.25 million gift to the university to go towards construction of the new Student-Athlete Success Center on campus.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long's decision to fire head football coach Bobby Petrino in the wake of a scandal prompted a gift of $1.25 million to the college's Student-Athlete Success Center.
Citing "the courageous leadership" of Long, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will make the donation in two separate gifts to the university, according to a release from the school.
The foundation approved a $1 million gift to assist in the funding of the Student-Athlete Success Center, a proposed academic center listed in the athletic department's master facility plan. Fred W. Smith, the Reynolds Foundation Board Chair, is also pledging $250,000 to the same cause.
Long fired Petrino on April 10 after an investigation into the coach following a motorcycle crash on April 1. Long placed Petrino on paid administrative leave on April 5 after it was revealed that Petrino had an "previous inappropriate relationship" with Student-Athlete Development Coordinator Jessica Dorrell, who was also to be found riding on the motorcycle with Petrino at the time of the crash.
It was also discovered that Petrino hired Dorrell to her current position in March over 158 other candidates and gave her an additional $20,000. Dorrell used the additional fund to purchase a black Acura, according to the termination letter Long sent to Petrino, later released to multiple media outlets.
Dorrell is currently on paid administrative leave as the university further discusses her situation, Long and Chancellor G. David Gearhart told Arkansas Online on Friday.
This isn't the gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to make its way to the university. The foundation gave a $10 million challenge grant in 2010 for the estimated $40.35 million football operations center that's currently under construction. The foundation was also the main donor for the renovation of the Fayetteville stadium, which is now named after Donald W. Reynolds.
Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
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