Bobby Petrino, still not a man of his word

Getty Images

In the NFL world, Bobby Petrino’s reputation for not being a man of his word stems mostly from his decision to abandon the Falcons during his only season as their head coach and take a job at Arkansas. In the college football world, Petrino’s reputation for not being a man of his word goes much deeper than that.

There was the time Petrino gave his mistress a job in the Arkansas athletic department, then engaged in a cover-up after questions were raised when he crashed his motorcycle with her on the back. There was the time Petrino took a job as an assistant at Auburn without even bothering to tell his boss (Tom Coughlin) that he was leaving his previous job. There was the time he went behind the backs of his bosses at Louisville in an attempt to get Auburn to fire his former boss (Tommy Tuberville) and get himself hired in Tuberville’s place. There was the time Petrino quit Louisville six months after signing a 10-year contract extension and promising he wasn’t going anywhere.

And now we have the recruitment of Matt Colburn.

Colburn is a running back at Dutch Fork High School in South Carolina. Eight months ago, Colburn committed to play for Petrino at Louisville. (Petrino is in his second stint as Louisville’s head coach; you can be forgiven if you’re having trouble keeping up with all the twists and turns in Petrino’s career path.) Colburn is considered a three-star prospect: A very good football player, although not the kind of elite talent who has scholarship offers from all the top football schools across the country. At the time that Colburn committed, Louisville seemed like a good fit for him.

But it turned out that Louisville had more good players commit to this year’s class than they were expecting. So many good players that they couldn’t fit them all under the scholarship limit. So instead of telling some of the new kids who have come along, “Sorry, but we don’t have any more scholarships to give,” this week Petrino decided that Colburn — who shut down his own recruiting eight months ago when he committed to Louisville — wouldn’t have a scholarship to enroll at Louisville in the fall after all.

That’s a lousy way to treat a kid who made a commitment to your football program, and it leaves Colburn in limbo. The other schools that had been recruiting Colburn moved on when he announced his commitment to Louisville eight months ago, and they’ve now reached their own scholarship limits and no longer have a scholarship to offer him — and unlike Petrino, those other coaches won’t kick another kid to the curb to make room. So Colburn is now scrambling to find another college to attend.

Oh, and did I mention that Petrino didn’t even have the guts to tell Colburn himself? Petrino had an assistant coach make the call to inform Colburn that he won’t be getting a scholarship to Louisville this year.

Colburn’s high school coach, Tom Knotts, is furious and says he and some other high school coaches have decided they will no longer work with Petrino when he wants to recruit their players.

“I tell my players when you commit, you commit,” Knotts told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. “That’s what a commitment is. Matt’s been committed for eight months. It’s irritating that men can do this. He’s just a boy, a young man. He doesn’t know how to understand it. He’s very upset. Some things have opened up but that’s not the way it should be. It’s not right. Louisville is only going to hurt themselves doing this. Everybody knows not just what a good player Matt is but what a good person he is. That is not the way to do business and if that’s the way to do business we don’t want to deal with them. [Petrino] won’t be able to recruit my school anymore and I imagine there will be some other coaches that will say the same thing. Trust factor is just not there.”

At this point, anyone who puts trust in Petrino is just asking to be betrayed. Unfortunately, Petrino is still in a position where kids who don’t know better are vulnerable to his dishonesty.

103 responses to “Bobby Petrino, still not a man of his word

  1. This basically sums up the kind of person that Petrino is. He’d step over his own mother to get ahead, and I’m stunned that anyone would ever commit to having him as their head coach.

  2. Petrino has always been a worth less than bag of crap, nothing surprises me about this turd anymore.

  3. NCAA ought to force Louisville to honor the scholarship–if he still wants it–but then take away their ability to offer scholarships to any incoming freshmen for 2 years.

  4. How is this any different than when a player flips schools at the last minute? Not saying I like it but commitment works both ways….

  5. Well this happens all the times in Major College Programs, sometimes you hear about it, most times you don’t.

    Having said that, Petrino is still a scoundrel. He should have at least the decency to call the kid and family himself.
    But honestly, are any of us surprised?

  6. This happens at schools every year. Nothing new. Unless they make changes to signing periods it will continue to happen.

    It’s hard to blame a school or coach if they can get a better prospect to fill the position. You either win or you don’t have a job. I don’t see a huge difference in this and the fact that a recruit can commit to a school and change his mind at the last minute.

  7. No idea why a kid or his family would even consider playing for Petrino after all of his past history. I know I would never play for the guy.

  8. This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Petrino is a man of revolting character and lacks even a single shread of integrity. A true sociopath in every sense of the word.
    If something terrible happens to this man I will rejoice.

  9. The part that gets me is that Petrino couldn’t tell that kid to his face that he isn’t coming to Louisville. That young kid had his hopes up for almost a year! Petrino has no honor or integrity.

  10. I’m sure his personal life is just as squeaky clean as his professional, it’ll all average out for him.

  11. Petrino is a noted scumbag, no question.. however, the flip side of this is all the kids who coaches spend years recruiting & then they decommit for another school 2 days before signing day both ways

  12. Once you develope a reputations….EVERYONE who comes in CONTACT with this guy should be leery. It’s buyer beware with this guy. Meanwhile , whoever is looking out for Louisville”s good name should be FIRED for hiring this scumbag.

  13. College sports are broken. The NCAA is run only by $. I see know why it the farm system for the NFL! I expect more from the halls of higher learning.

  14. All The Right Moves…in real life. I hope the kid can find a college team to play on

  15. Blame Louisville for hiring a joke of a person to be a role model and help shape then into men . Shame on Louisville! Just ask coach zimmer !! Skol vikes

  16. This sounds pretty low, but how does it not happen more often? One of my LSU friends claims Saban always plays games like this, but I have no clue if there is any validity to that.

  17. I’m just glad he’s not at WKU anymore, just the fact that he was affiliated with the Hilltoppers still makes me sick

  18. To those that say it works both ways, you’re missing the point. Petrino is the grown up in the situation.

    These are 17-18 year kids who are making their first real life choice, often times with pressure coming from parents, friends, coaches, etc. I don’t blame them for considering what’s best for them in the last days before signing their letters of intent.

  19. This is awful I really do hope another school can help this kid. Preferably one in the acc so he can stick it to the coach that is if he is still there in a couple years.

  20. Its amazing how Al Davis’s mantra “just win baby” causes the powers to be to overlook so many obvious character flaws.

  21. This is commonplace in all collegiate sports. Unfortunately a student athlete must be prepared for this. His HS coach should have known this and guided him appropriately. With that being said, Petrino is Petrino and a coward for not placing the call!

  22. Considering Petrino is morally bankrupt, he should just go get a job with the Patriorts where that skill set is not only appreciated but rewarded financially over time.

  23. How does this guy even still get coaching gigs!!?? He’s not even a good coach!

    Who is the A.D. at U of L ? He must have a “special” parking spot at Louisville. One big enough to park a
    short bus.

  24. This is what happened to Justin Forsett, Ravens RB, who had his schollie yanked at the 11th hour by Notre Dame, and he was left in the lurch. CAL and Jeff Tedford came calling well after signing day. Forsett was still able to get playing time as a true freshman despite having two future NFL running backs as teammates in JJ Arrington and Marshawn Lynch.

    Kids change their minds also, but they are kids and not the ones in position in power. Plus, it’s the coaches who are continually recruiting these kids even though they’re committed elsewhere. No honor in recruiting. Karma will bite a scumbag like Petrino in the arse and hopefully very soon.

  25. Well, the kid is learning a life lesson and teaching others one as well. Recruits, keep ur options open, life happens. One day you may work for a company in the real world that does something similar. Be prepared for “Life Happens.”

  26. As fun as it is to watch, major college football is a completely dishonest and unethical institution. The universities and coaches rake in millions, while the ones doing the work and bearing serious injury risk receive only an education they may or may not want because the NFL refuses to draft them until 3 years after high school. The kids are locked into “commitments” while the coaches leave as soon as a better opportunity is there, or cuts the kid’s scholarship because of an injury or a better recruit. The kids are often broke and barred from working. Then some schools and kids get major sanctions for ridiculous violations, while other programs have cash flowing under the table from boosters and runners and no one cares about that. All in the name of “amateurism” and “student-athletes.”

  27. Another side note since the article is written with an axe to grind without proper knowledge of how college recruiting works. The assistant coach that called “instead of Petrino” was more than likely the one that had recruited him and the one that made the scholarship offer. There’s a chance that Petrino had never even met the young man. BTW; Auburn, Alabama, and Texas are just a few of the schools that did the same thing but you’ll have to dig to find those stories.

  28. Why does Petrino still have a job in coaching? Everyone knows about his character flaws. The only reason is that he seems to win whereever he coaches. So most programs are so shallow that they don’t give a damn about the kids they recruit and all they are worried about is winning and it all about the Benjamins. Kudos to this kids coach who has stood up for him and will not allow Petrino to recruit his kids and other coaches should follow suit.

  29. I would say that the majority of NCAA institutions do the exact same thing. Happens every year across America. It is wrong when an institution says they have a spot for you and then cancels.

    Can it happen the opposite way? Sure. But the schools generally have WAY more options to fill a last minute vacancy.

    Is Petrino a weasel? Yeah. But this is not a unique characteristic to NCAA coaches. A valuable trait for them to have, yes.

  30. The biggest thing is the fact that Petrino can’t even call the kid and tell him. Shows what a rat faced coward he is. He must have been on the phone with some underage skank from Louisville that he’s ready to make the next president of the University, before they go on a motorcylcle ride.

  31. And it speaks to Jeff Long’s character as well. Many of the coaches he employs at University of Arkansas follow that same pattern, especially in volleyball and soccer. Beware of U of A. Many dishonest coaches there.

  32. Petrino is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with the NCAA. Where is the NCAA in this mess? Nobody cares about the kids.

  33. As brutal as this seems, it is nothing compared to the days when I played college ball and that wasn’t necessarily that many years ago. There were no scholarship limits, so coaches stockpiled players they didn’t want to keep them from going elsewhere. Then put them on so called “death squads” trying to make them give up their scholarships and forget transferring. That just wasn’t done. So as bad as it is today it is still head and shoulders above those days.

  34. Thanks for giving this situation the visibility. Prediction: this young ma will get another scholarship offer within 5 days elsewhere, and Petrino is on the shortest of short leashes at Louisville, now that many coaches in the region now refuse to work with him. Major bowl? The weasel will then buy one year, but in any event he’s gone forever in one year. Good riddance.

  35. I just hope the kid goes to an ACC school or Kentucky so he can play against Petrino, that would be awesome.

    And I know it happens at SOME places, but it’s not as widespread as people think. Having said that….have the guts to tell the kid yourself, Bobby.

  36. Saying this happens all of the time doesn’t make it any better. If a kid with second – third tier talent commits to a big-time program i.e. Ohio State, Alabama, LSU etc. they are going to know that someone else could come along and bump them from their scholarship because all of the 4 start recruits that are considering those programs.
    However, when you are a 3 star recruit you would think you are a lock for Louisville.

    I hope Tommy T signs him for the Bearcats.

  37. IF you want a babysitter, then find a babysitter…

    Most fans would welcome Petrino to their program and all of the liability that comes with him. After-all, he is the best offensive coach in the game at any level.

    I hope Louisville fires Petrino and Auburn fires Pearl and they both come to Tennessee. I would welcome the national titles and the probation…

  38. Not backing Patrino, but players back out of verbal commitments all the time. I understand the difference is that they are just kids and the process is difficult, but like the High School coach says, a commitment is a commitment. Works both ways.

  39. The NCAA should abolish this policy. Once both parties COMMIT, they COMMIT and there is no backing out. This is terrible what happened to this kid. And yeah, I agree, Petrino is a scumbag.

  40. The Falcons, recruits, his wife, and that poor motorcycle. Do not walk in front of this man unless you like sharp objects jammed in your back.

  41. Personally I think Petrino is a certified jackass but I just read where Auburn is doing one of their recruits the same way so they signed with another team. I do think that when a school offers a scholarship to a player they need to keep their word but the same should hold true for the players. Several players yesterday withdrew their commitment from one school and signed with another school.

  42. The way Gregg Easterbrook puts it is apt. His “immutable Law of Weasels”: When you hire a coach who’s only in it for himself, you get a coach who’s only in it for himself.”

  43. Colburn should sign with Florida State or Clemson and then run all over Louisville for the next four years.

  44. It happens all the time, maybe not 48 hours in advance, but kids change their minds at the last minute. If UL only has 20 slots and they offer 40 kids scholarships, what does the other 20 kids do if they want to attend UL? Coach has to make decisions. Would you rather have a first fax in wins?

  45. He’s doing the kid a favor… doesn’t have to put up with Petrino like the kid that took what was his scholarship.

    But if you’ve still got offers out, let the kid know you’re not in a position to accept his firm commitment – or accept his commitment and pull offers to others… or find out what his #2 and #3 choices were and make a call on his behalf – even if it’s your rival.

    But don’t string him along until the 11th hour and then pull the rug out from under him.

  46. There is a difference between signing a letter of intent and commiting to a program. When they commit (the players) they don’t usually pull out of said commitment. A letter of intent means they are considering, but could be waiting for a better offer. At least that is how it was explained to me by one of the college recruiters I talked to.

  47. I guess the high school coaches in South Carolina that want to ban Petrino forgot that just a few short years ago South Carolina and Spurrier pulled Lorenzo Maulden’s scholarship from him.

  48. exsquidao says: Feb 5, 2015 9:25 AM

    Please yell me why any school would hire this guy?


    I HAVE NO IDEA!!!!!

  49. I hope this story goes viral. This needs to gain some more traction. This is wrong on so many fronts.

  50. Wonder why the guy who wrote this didn’t include Saban, Malzahn, Charlie Strong and Butch Jones.
    Saban and Malzahn did the exact same thing except they did it on signing day. A few years ago Saban did this to Darius Philon a few minutes before his school signing ceremony. Wonder why all these coaches are getting a pass?

  51. srose3rd says:
    Feb 5, 2015 9:20 AM
    How is this any different than when a player flips schools at the last minute? Not saying I like it but commitment works both ways….

    One is making millions and millions of dollars and goes home to a mansion every night.

    The other is a kid just trying to do the best he can with his god given talent and is usually fortunate enough to have any home to go home to.

    Does that clear it up for you?

  52. The season is still six months away and no rule was broken. There are other schools that want him. If he wants to go to Louisville that much he can walk on. What’s the problem?

  53. Another side note since the article is written with an axe to grind . . .
    Well, actually, I think this article was written from the perspective of Petrino as a man who’s a totally self absorbed, self centered, narcissist.

    Let’s see, he screwed over the Falcons, quitting on them even before his only season as an NFL head coach was over, he screwed around on his wife, he gave his girlfriend a good, high-paying job for which she wasn’t qualified, and he lied to investigators regarding his motorcycle crash.

    So, good ole Bobby has made it really difficult for the rest of us to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  54. Can people read?

    “Other players verbally commit, then back out 2 days before the signing period.”

    This kid SIGNED.

    WITH Louisville.

    He signed and thought he was going to Louisville for EIGHT MONTHS.

    He didn’t play any games with the coaches at this school.

    So right there all the comments about how so many players ‘back out of a commitment’ = rendered null and void. You have been comparing apples to oranges.

    The NCCA should investigate if coaches like Petrino & Saban have been signing kids to scholarships and then throwing them out the door when a better player comes along. A signed contract should could for something.

    If it doesn’t, and coaches are getting away with signing a surplus of scholarship players and then dumping some out on their ass at the last minute, then this needs to be fixed.

  55. Remember folks, he is at Louisville because they want to win, they do not care how. That is why they hired him back after he left before for Atlanta then went to Arkansas where he disgraced and shamed us with the scandal was out a year then went to Western Kentucky won and left to go back to Louisville. He is a Winner, pure and simple. He has no scruples and doesn’t care as long as he wins. The President of the school and The AD of the school apparently do not care either or they would not have brought him back after his previous track record.

  56. They also just signed a TCU five star castoff facing charges for assaulting his girlfriend. He punched her the face and pointed a gun at her!
    Louisville doesn’t care what it takes to win! They are paying their DC 1.4 million!

  57. And people should be surprised at this article?? lol this guys been a scumbag since day one. Reading the paragraph where it says how mant people he has screwed over in his football career was unsettling. If I was a high school athlete or even the parent of one I wouldn’t want to play for this dude or have my kid play for this dude. I’m surprised he got another shot at being a head coach if you ask me. But unfortunately this is our society. We’re all about giving scum second chances….and sometimes third and fourth chances lol

  58. Don’t worry coach, we have a guy that has lied to us for the past 7 years and he is forgiven. Keep it up you and you can run for office.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.