The Facebook page "Team Save Coach Petrino" has gained a lot of traction in the past couple days, but the rally it was trying to promote Monday evening fell flat.
The site asked its members to meet at The Gardens, a popular tailgating spot on the Arkansas campus, to rally in support of coach Bobby Petrino in hopes of persuading athletic director Jeff Long to not fire him. However, according to ArkansasSports360.com, only about 200 people showed up in non-virtual support, making it easy to question how many people would actually be willing to stand up for Petrino?
ArkasnasSports360.com reporter Chris Bahn tweeted Tuesday that the number of people on the Team Save Coach Petrino Facebook page, which was at more than 20,000 members at the time of this posting, was fraudulent and that many had been added to the group without their consent or knowledge.
Last Thursday, Arkansas placed Petrino on administrative leave after he revealed he had engaged in an "inappropriate relationship" with Jessica Dorrell, a 25-year-old female subordinate who was a passenger on his motorcycle when it crashed.
Rally organizer Matt Couch told the website he didn't approve of Petrino's actions, but that he didn't think he should be fired for them.
"We're not condoning it. I wouldn't ask him for marriage counseling," Couch told the website "But at the same time we're supportive of him and want him to do well."
(Photo courtesy of @CharlieHannema)Supportive of the fact that Petrino wins. Couch acknowledged that had Arkansas had a losing record or even a seven-win season, the rally of support would not have happened. But since Petrino is 21-5 in the past two years and finished in the Top 5 this year and likely will be a preseason Top 10 team, it's easy to root for the guy to stay on board.
The strangest part of the rally, outside of the fact that it actually happened, was there was a surprising amount of women there. It's kind of like the feelings of Becky Petrino and her children don't even exist and at the very least she doesn't have much local empathy from female Razorback fans.
The best part of the rally, which spent a considerable amount of time doing the "Woo Pig Sooie" chant, was the signs. One man held up a sign that read, "What's wrong with scoring in the offseason???" And another said, "Accept Apology and FORGIVE. Jesus Saved Bobby … Jeff ….. You Can Too."
Signs like that and the small turnout make it hard to take the push to keep Petrino seriously despite the Facebook outcry. Even more telling is that while the group was trying to get Long's attention, Long was enjoying the school's basketball banquet.