But a look at the termination letter, released Friday by a request under the Freedom of Information Act, shows the cold, hard facts that lead to Long's decision.
Long says his investigation into Petrino's conduct after his motorcycle crash revealed consistent efforts by the coach to mislead and deceive athletic department staff, university officials, and the people of Arkansas.
"I recognize that you are a very talented football coach, but the University may not disregard your
conduct or sacrifice it's integrity, reputation and principles," Long said in the letter.
In his fact finding, Long rebuked Petrino for the hiring of 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell.
He was also concerned about $20,000 Petrino gave Dorrell before she was hired, saying it was a fact he should have disclosed.
The athletic director said Petrino used "poor judgement" by taking Dorrell for a ride on the day of his motorcycle crash, and said Petrino failed to notify him that he was with an employee at the time of his accident. Then, Long asserted, the coach called a press conference in which he was "deceitful with our fans and the citizens of the State of Arkansas in order to conceal the true nature of your relationship with Ms. Dorrell.
After the crash, Long said Petrino had "multiple opportunities" to tell him about Dorrell, but didn't until just before the release of the Arkansas State Police crash report.
"...you informed me only when you knew I would learn about it through the release of the report," Long said.
Long said Petrino's actions attracted the attention of local and national media, creating a firestorm of bad publicity and hurting the reputation of the university and athletic programs.
Long said he was excited about a bright future for Arkansas football after Petrino's new contract, but he wouldn't let his bad decisions hurt the university.
"I recognize that you are a very talented football coach, but the University may not disregard your conduct or sacrifice its integrity, reputation and principles," Long said.