This will be a different Easter in Arkansas this weekend. Good Friday may not be so good in some people's eyes. But healing will take place and the weekend should be a good chance to get it started.
I don't know what Jeff Long, David Gearhart and the Board of Trustees will do with Bobby Petrino. The Arkansas head coach is on shaky ground. Petrino probably still has to answer more questions after it was discovered Thursday that there were untruths told to his bosses and the Razorback Nation concerning his motorcycle wreck. And worse, it was to hide an inappropriate relationship with a newly promoted employee in the athletic department.
But regardless, most everyone in Razorback Nation will have Petrino on their minds this weekend as Easter is celebrated around our state. For sure, it will come up in our home as our daughters return to have a traditional dinner. They'll ask what I think. They will probably say what they think. Petrino will be discussed. That's the way it will be in every Arkansas home.
The national media is going to rip on Arkansas on this issue. Petrino will be torn to shreds -- again. They've done that before, particularly upon his exit at Atlanta.
But that's not my concern right now. It's what to say to my daughters about the man I cover on a weekly if not daily basis. I've got two options. I can tell them what I said to a co-worker yesterday when it first hit the fan around 3:45 p.m. And that is winning takes care of everything and time heals. Also, in that first option, I could tell them that everyone deserves a second chance.
That is generally the truth. But that may not be the right answer. It may be that Petrino's bosses determine that winning can't heal this one, or, worse that there won't be winning. That's the other option on the table, that there must be change.
It may be that this one causes such severe problems that there can't be winning down the line. And then it becomes a business decision, as is the case most times. Not enough winning causes empty seats and with the price of those seats going up to pay Petrino's salary and the new football operations building, maybe it comes down to a business decision before it becomes too late.
Can he coach? Absolutely. He's as good as I've seen and that covers a bunch. But there is extreme baggage now.
The key question: Can he still be a viable recruiter? The co-worker involved in the inappropriate relationship was promoted to the position of showing recruits around campus just days ago. But I'm guessing he can still recruit. Only time will tell.
So we are back to a business decision. That's generally the way things work. But before the business decision can be made, Long still needs more research. That's what he said Thursday night when the shaken athletic director -- facing his first true crisis in Fayetteville -- said he was still going through the process of discovery. How much more is there? What else is out there? Maybe nothing, but he's going to look.
In the meantime, big money will probably weigh in. It generally does. I hope that's not what it's about though. I hope the decision is made on what is best for the school, the program and the state. But I have to go back to one of the first rules that was taught to me by my favorite mentor: Even when it's not about the money, it's about the money.
It ought to be about more than that, especially this weekend. It ought to be about Easter. That will mean different things to different people. It means a lot to me. It's my favorite weekend of the year. It's the point of reference for everything I do. It tells me my sins are forgiven.
We'll see what happens around Arkansas this weekend. I can't tell you if Bobby Petrino is still going to be the coach when we get back to work Monday. I don't want to tell others what they should do this Easter weekend in respect to the Arkansas football coach. Each person has to do that on their own. And I'm not telling Jeff Long what to do. As they say, it's about the money and no one pays me enough to make that decision.
Enjoy Easter. Celebrate that this weekend. It's more important than any of this other stuff and by a lot.
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