Arkansas coach Petrino on leave after crash, admits 'inappropriate relationship'

University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino is on paid administrative leave.

Story highlights

  • The University of Arkansas' head football coach crashed his motorcycle
  • The passenger on the motorcycle was a 25-year-old female member of his staff
  • The university puts Petrino on paid administrative leave while it investigates
  • Petrino apologizes to his family and says he hopes to keep his job

The University of Arkansas has puts its head football coach, Bobby Petrino, on paid administrative leave after news that the passenger on the motorcycle he crashed this week was a 25-year-old female member of his staff.

Petrino, 51, said Thursday that he had not initially divulged the presence of the passenger, Jessica Dorrell, in an effort to protect his family and avoid "a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public," according to a statement obtained by CNN affiliate KARK.

The motorcycle crash took place Sunday, but the involvement of Dorrell -- a former Arkansas women's volleyball player who was recently named student athlete coordinator for the university's football team -- came to light after a police report was released.

"In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details," Petrino said Thursday in the statement, as reported by KARK.

Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said at a news conference Thursday that he had put Petrino on paid administrative leave while the university reviews the full extent of the motorcycle accident and those involved.

Petrino apologized to his wife and four children, the university, his colleagues, students and "the entire state of Arkansas."

He said he hoped to repair relationships with his family and the university and remain head coach of the Razorbacks.

Petrino told the police that the sun and wind had caused him to lose control of the motorcycle and crash into a pile of dirt and tree limbs on the side of the road, according to the police report.