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With their Louisville and philandering connections, it was inevitable that we would compare Bobby Petrino and Rick Pitino’s cases. In fact, comparing the two is one of the first things everyone did. At first, it was fans and bloggers. It seems ‘real publications’ are jumping on the train – Forbes just posted “Lessons From An $18 Million Affair: Why Rick Pitino Survived a Scandal and Bobby Petrino Couldn’t.” The piece is written by Allen St. John. And that’s a cool name, if do say so myself.
St. John starts by hitting on why Petrino failed to appeal his firing – his buyout was on the line and he had to do whatever he could to salvage that ship. Here, Petrino starts with no way to seem like the good guy. Police reports, phone records, and his mistress Jessica Dorrell’s job and car all violently pointed fingers at him. He has no way (as of right now, it seems) to paint his picture any prettier than the disaster it already is. He’s the bad guy here, no way around it.
Pitino, however, had a few loopholes that saved his job according to St. John:
– The money that Pitino paid Sypher came from his personal funds, not from the University.
– And when the scandal threatened to go public, Pitino came clean to his bosses and authorities.
Petrino may have eventually came clean and paid the $20,000 on his own, but the job Dorrell acquired via their illicit affair really makes things hairy for the school. What both men did was utterly deplorable, but I think Pitino had another reason he was able to use – they were able to show Karen Sypher as a lying, lunatic sociopath and sue her in court, something that has not and probably will not to Dorrell.
With no other villain than himself, Petrino had to bite the bullet. St. John makes a good point that, for whatever reason, we continue to see happen:
There’s a simple lesson here, but powerful men keep making these mistakes over and over: they entangle their messy personal lives with their work lives, and when they get caught, they try to cover it up.