A fan group is building a growing Facebook page — Team Save Coach Petrino — to support the continued University of Arkansas employment of football coach Bobby Petrino. He’s a winner and they don’t want to lose him. All else is immaterial to the fans, some 7,000 at last look.
An MSNBC blogger refers to the Petrino backers as “sheep,” a flavor of the national press coverage on the matter. Fans, naturally, care little about what national press has to say. Athletic Director Jeff Long, who’ll make the decision on the coach (likely in consultation with Chancellor David Gearhart and other heavy Hog hitters), can’t help but consider national reputation to at least some small degree. however.
Petrino fans plan a 7 p.m. rally outside the Broyles athletic complex tonight. I don’t think it’s crazy to think the decision — good or ill — might be made by then. The university doesn’t want this to fester. It must act and move on — either in the mission of repairing Petrino or starting over. That won’t end the story, not with conspiracy theories of all sorts piling up among the Kremlin watchers who study Razorback insiders’ tea leaves. Was there a power struggle already between Long and Petrino? Is money raising, even before The Bike Ride, up to the level necessary for the grand facilities expansion plan? Is Petrino to blame for loss of the LSU game in Little Rock, a factor in some fat cat support?
COMMENTARY UPDATE: Rex Nelson has some, characterizing Petrino as Ernie Passailaigue in a ballcap. Ouch.
Passions are running high, particularly among Petrino’s backers. (You can’t help but wonder about a political breakdown of that fervent group — red or blue, supporters of Clinton’s ouster back in the day?) By way of example, read a letter I received this morning, with the subject line, “Get Over Yourself Already.” (Though I’ve been critical of Petrino’s dishonesty and raised questions about workplace issues, I’d note I haven’t yet called for his firing.) Anyway, read on for an opinion that I’m sure has many sympathizers (though I hope we aren’t deciding university employment issues based on fan voting):