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Coach Bobby Petrino Had To Be Fired, Arkansas Football Fans Say

After hearing that football coach Bobby Petrino had not only lied about who he was with when he had a motorcycle accident on April 1, but that he was also having an affair with that young woman, had paid her $20,000 and had arranged for her to get a job with the university, Arkansas Razorbacks fans are saying they agree with the decision to fire him.

"I'm disappointed," but it was the right thing to dismiss Petrino, says fan Donnie Holt, one of a series of Razorbacks faithful interviewed on video by Arkansas Online. Petrino deceived the univerisity, its fans and its players, says another fan, Janis Harrison.

As UALR Public Radio reports, University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long announced Tuesday that Petrino was dismissed because "he made a conscious decision to speak and mislead the public ... and in doing so he negatively and adversely affected the reputation of the University of Arkansas and our football program."

Long also said the university does not plan to pay an $18 million buyout in Petrino's contract because he's being dismissed for his conduct.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Petrino says he accepts "full responsibility for what has happened. ... I have hurt my wife Becky and our four children. I've let down the University of Arkansas, my team, coaching staff and everyone associated with the Razorback football program. ... I wish nothing but the best for the Razorback football program, the University and the entire Razorback Nation."

He had been at Arkansas for four seasons and, as Arkansas Online recounts, "led the Razorbacks to prominence in the Southeastern Conference, with a 34-17 record ... and to the school's first Bowl Championship Series appearance after the 2010 season."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.