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How Jessica Dorrell hurt all women trying to work in college football
May 2, 2012 5:26 PM   Subscribe


 
I don't know. Considering what men in college sports have gotten up to, you think that no one in their right mind would let a male coach anywhere near a college, yet here we are....

Sadly, she is probably right. Double standard indeed.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:37 PM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


"As if getting a job in college football wasn't hard enough."

She's showing you how to do it, lady. You think anything in college football isn't corrupt?
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:38 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


It seems typical, but so sad, to blame Dorrell and make no mention of Petrino and the several other men who knowingly broke employment laws to hire Dorrell.
posted by muddgirl at 5:39 PM on May 2, 2012 [19 favorites]


Yeah, she's not wrong, exactly, but this is typical "men can't control their penises so women have to take responsibility for them" bullshit that lets men in power continue to not bother to keep their pants zipped.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:44 PM on May 2, 2012 [43 favorites]


I hope this isn't too much of a derail but what does a social networking consultant do for a college football program? It just seems like an odd position to need.
posted by scalefree at 5:50 PM on May 2, 2012


Sadly, she is probably right. Double standard indeed.

Yeah, it's stupid.

Hey NFL, how about a Rooney rule for women? You don't have to play to understand how to coach. Breast cancer awareness is a good thing and all, but there are other things you can do to help women, and putting deserving candidates in prominent leadership positions with teams is one of them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:52 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


No one here can be sure that Dorrell and Petrino didn't fall in love, so no one has a right to blame either of them for anything — except Petrino's manager if Dorrell's performance is poor.

Also, accepting a world in which people are representatives of their genders (for example) is accepting other people's simplistic view of the world. If people want to see all women the same, and treat you based on the few representatives they've met before, then they are already set against getting to know you as an individual, and you could easily spend a lifetime trying to change their minds.

She should have the confidence to stand alone — not as a "football chick" — but as a Christianne Harder with all her accomplishments. My experience is that, in general, the cream rises to the top, but sometimes slowly.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 5:53 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


so no one has a right to blame either of them for anything — except Petrino's manager if Dorrell's performance is poor.

...and the University of Arkansas, which had several hiring regulations that Petrino and his bosses knowingly violated to get Dorrell hired.
posted by muddgirl at 6:03 PM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


so no one has a right to blame either of them for anything — except Petrino's manager if Dorrell's performance is poor.

...and the University of Arkansas, which had several hiring regulations that Petrino and his bosses knowingly violated to get Dorrell hired.


And the legitimate candidates who she undeservedly beat out for the job.
posted by oddman at 6:05 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I hope this isn't too much of a derail but what does a social networking consultant do for a college football program? It just seems like an odd position to need.

I'd assume social networking would be a useful way to advertise games and also to keep alumni and parents feeling involved and thus more likely to donate, off the top of my head. It looks from the article as if fundraising, recruitment and social networking are roles that might often be shared or moved between in college football, whereas a more heavily funded and revenue-generating program would probably have a dedicated social media manager.

Yeah, she's not wrong, exactly, but this is typical "men can't control their penises so women have to take responsibility for them" bullshit that lets men in power continue to not bother to keep their pants zipped.

Amen - and also lets them avoid hiring women, or even having professional contact with them, it seems.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:06 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


But she was romantically involved with him, and that's why she got the job.

Assumes facts not in evidence.

The bottom line is that perception is reality.

Bullshit. Facts are facts. Establish some.

"Damn it!" I thought, "Jessica Dorrell just screwed me."

So I'm going to screw her back with a hatchet job in Sports Illustrated.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/ncaa/04/16/harder.editorial/index.html#ixzz1tlRdwDMn

Screw you, and your lame assed scripts, Sports Illustrated.

She has no idea why this woman got the job or when the inappropriate relationship started. Or if she does she didn't bother to make mention of that. People in this thread have done a better job at condemning this situation than Harder did.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:07 PM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, she's not wrong, exactly, but this is typical "men can't control their penises so women have to take responsibility for them" bullshit that lets men in power continue to not bother to keep their pants zipped.
Wait, are we talking about college football or fundamentalist Islam? Fundamentalist Muslims aren't exactly wrong, either: if Jessica Dorrell had not been allowed out of the house without a burka and male chaperon, none of this would have happened either.

disclaimer: I'm not poling fun at the comment, but rather the article's notion of blaming Jessica Dorrell. Clearly she and the coach share blame, and the primary (if not actually exclusive) responsibility should lie with the head coach who hired her (presumably for illicit purposes) and was her occupational superior.
posted by Davenhill at 6:07 PM on May 2, 2012


Don't people usually feel more betrayed by the people on their side appeasing an enemy than by the enemy itself? It's not logical, but it's pretty standard human behavior to expect more from the person you identify with and are identified with by others than the person you don't.
posted by gingerest at 6:11 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


If someone used a sexual relationship to get a job, they have done a bad thing and can be blamed for that. There is no reason to put the only blame there on the boss.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:13 PM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


She has no idea why this woman got the job or when the inappropriate relationship started. Or if she does she didn't bother to make mention of that.

Possibly because it's been extensively detailed already?

Relationship started in late 2011. She was hired in March 2012. So yes, we do know.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:15 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's some more about the extent to which Petrino violated Arkansas rules and common sense. Facts are facts. Here are some.
posted by stargell at 6:22 PM on May 2, 2012


No True Football Chick.
posted by michaelh at 6:23 PM on May 2, 2012


petrino's actions are the ones that should be held to higher scorn for all sorts of reasons, like he was the boss and the person in a position of power. in fighting is easier, i guess.
posted by nadawi at 6:27 PM on May 2, 2012


"From SI.com:
Petrino mistress Dorrell placed on paid leave (SI.com NCAA Football)
Review of resumes shows Petrino had many more qualified applicants (SI.com Writers)
Petrino inquired about texts, future with Arkansas athletic staffers"

Wow. How had I not heard of this?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:30 PM on May 2, 2012


She has no idea why this woman got the job or when the inappropriate relationship started.

For reference - Dorrell was hired on March 28, the accident happened on April 1, and Petrino admitted to the inappropriate relationship on April 6, which he said had been going on for a significant length of time - long enough, certainly, for it to be inappropriate for him to make hiring decisions for a job for which she had applied without declaring an interest.

This is why Petrino was fired, while Dorrell resigned with token compensation - legally, she was entitled to apply for the job, and to accept the job when it was offered. The conflict of interest was Petrino's, but the concealment and then revelation of the conflict of interest means she could not do her job effectively.

So, it doesn't really matter "why this woman got the job" - Harder's belief that she was not competent to do it was unproven and will never be proven. Even if her interview was so good and her skill set so well developed in other areas that these benefits outweighed other stipulated requirements - which wouldn't be the first time somebody who clicked with the selection committee got a job for which they were not officially totally qualified - there was a clear conflict of interest which was not declared.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:32 PM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think this article is gross and does more to hurt women than Jessica Dorrell's actions. First, Harder is blaming the bad actions of men on a woman. The men who won't hire her because they'd rather hire a woman they can have sex with? They're the bad actors. The men who won't engage with her in a professional capacity because they assume being seen with a "female" could be bad for their reputation? That's their problem. And the women like Christianne Harder who give up on any effort at changing male establishment and focus on taking potshots at the other women who aren't the real power-brokers? That's a problem.
posted by Danila at 6:40 PM on May 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yes, because the actions of one woman is the source of all the problems of gender inequity in some milieus. Clearly, women need to be beyond reproach in such situations, or they risk creating a reasonable justification for the continued marginalization of women everywhere.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:43 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Abusers are bad. Enablers are also bad.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:52 PM on May 2, 2012


Yeah, she's not wrong, exactly, but this is typical "men can't control their penises so women have to take responsibility for them" bullshit that lets men in power continue to not bother to keep their pants zipped.

And it's weird (or sad?) that the author doesn't realize that everything she describes is just straight-up sexism and misogyny. Her premise is basically, "Sexism hurts women in sports professions, but sexism hurts women in sports professions, too." Dorrell getting a job because she was boning Petrino? Sexism! Coaches afraid to be seen with Harder lest they be accused of/rumored to be having an affair with her? Sexism! Having to monitor your every action and interaction in the workplace lest you be accused of trying to sleep with a player or coach? Sexism! Dresses and heels "distracting" grown men in their office? Sexism! One woman's actions being construed as symptomatic of every member of her gender? IT'S SEXISM ALL THE WAY DOWN.

It sucks to be a woman in a more-sexist-than-average profession, but like...it sucks to be a woman in a sexist society, period.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:22 PM on May 2, 2012 [10 favorites]


First, Harder is blaming the bad actions of men on a woman.

Earth to ideologue: Women also have agency. They are not the inevitable and perpetual victims of mens' whimsy. A woman who fucks the boss to get hired/promoted/favors is no less culpable than he is and deserves no sympathy.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 7:30 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


A woman who fucks the boss to get hired/promoted/favors is no less culpable than he is and deserves no sympathy.

Certainly she is also no more culpable, and an article that focuses entirely on her and disregards the men in the situation is not exactly evenhanded. There's also the question of power - it'd be awfully hard to convince me that she was the one on the favorable side of the power imbalance here.

I'm not going to claim she was a saint, that she was abused or even taken advantage of (without further evidence,) but blaming her for the plight of women in football is so misguided as to be laughable.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:49 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I read this more as women are held up to higher scrutiny when they have jobs in major college football, and that this incident will cause people to wonder "Did this woman get a job because she is qualified or because she's sleeping with someone in power?". I'd equate this with any baseball player who puts up big power numbers automatically raising suspicions of PED use.
posted by reenum at 7:52 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


not a victim, but certainly less culpable. for instance, it wasn't her contract that was broken in numerous ways. it wasn't her sport's team. she wasn't even the one that was married. yes, she chose to have a relationship with a married man and then she chose to go after the job. those aren't morally neutral actions. but, there can be a bad actor and a worse actor and the worse actor is the coach and person more responsible for this woman's plight is him. yet, she barely mentions him and certainly doesn't take him to task. with this many more people will know her name and they'll also know that when it comes down to it, she'd rather smear the 25 year old underling, not the powerful coach. that's probably good for her job path.
posted by nadawi at 7:58 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


And this is why I'm proud to say I work in a job where I had to sign a statement listing every single relative and companion and first/second-degree family member who works there (in my case, I got to say "none.") And had to pass a written exam proving I could do the job. Civil service rules are obnoxious sometimes, but no one thinks we slept our way up the chain of command, no matter what we (or our bosses) look like or do. I did my DC internship in 1999 - I have enough experience with random intern jokes to believe this to be a very valuable thing indeed.

I think it's very sad how this young woman's poor choices are going to follow her for the rest of her life, and affect her far more deeply than Mr. Petrino's will affect him. He already has his money and trophies and proof of working competence; she's going to have a devil of a time proving herself, and will never get as far as she could have without this. And he quite clearly, for at least ten or fifteen reasons, has the lion's share of the "you moron, don't do that" responsibilities here. A mention of that fact in the piece would have been nice from a "basic principles of fairness" standpoint. Bearing in mind that the (also young) woman who wrote the piece has a serious conflict of interest in terms of not wanting to be seen as that random girl who's willing to criticize a head coach.
posted by SMPA at 8:10 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem isn't that people blame Dorrell, the problem is that everyone knows Petrino should have understood what was at play in terms of power dynamics and should have made a better decision, but despite that he'll still get another job somewhere.
posted by JPD at 8:15 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which btw does not absolve Dorrell. There is no question, that unfairly or not scandals like this make it harder for woman to get hired into football roles. But honestly given the pace at which it is being accepted that people who don't have high level playing experience might be capable of assembling a team, I think the point where gender becomes a non issue is decades away
posted by JPD at 8:19 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes. I hear that after Sandusky, it was clear that this hurt all men in college football, so now we're stuck with cats as coaches, and they just suck.

I understand what Harder is trying to get at, but I don't think she realises -- or I hope she doesn't realise -- that articles like that also make it harder for women to be taken seriously as individuals instead of representatives of womanhood. (This holds for any group, not just women.)
posted by jeather at 8:42 PM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I hope this isn't too much of a derail but what does a social networking consultant do for a college football program?

But she has a Master's Degree in football.

I know someone who has worked in administration very high in both academics and sports programs. I was surprised at how much more corrupt the college administration is than the football program (which is pretty damn corrupt). But I blame the effects of football money for distorting the values of the school administration as a whole.

Disclaimer: my Dad once donated $15,000 to the local college football program instead of buying me a new car.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:56 PM on May 2, 2012


What a long way Arkansas has come. Only a few years ago, shit like this would have been buried somewhere out in Newton County. (figuratively) Only a bit farther back than that, Dorrell would have been buried somewhere out in Newton County if it was required to keep everything hush-hush.
posted by wierdo at 9:08 PM on May 2, 2012


What is really pathetic is that an apparently bright competent woman really wants to work in college football and thinks it is important.
posted by LarryC at 10:04 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


A woman who fucks the boss to get hired/promoted/favors is no less culpable than he is and deserves no sympathy.

I don't think she deserves any sympathy, but from the various in-thread links, this is regular old nepotism, not sex in exchange for a job. (The FPP really could have used some more context.)

But she has a Master's Degree in football.

I get that you're quipping, but she really didn't have either evidence of advanced studies in fields related to college athletics or administration, or of substantial work experience with college football.

The position was basically administrative coordinator for player recruitment - basically the high end of clerical work. The only reason the job got so many overqualified applicants is that it's an entree to big-time college ball - you would work with the college coaches, and you'd meet pro scouts, soon-to-be-famous player recruits, and locally well-known high school coaches.
posted by gingerest at 10:30 PM on May 2, 2012


What is really pathetic is that an apparently bright competent woman really wants to work in college football and thinks it is important.

"And so, surely for the first time since the dead ball era, the Harvard Old Boy's network came to baseball. Paul himself sat on the desk on the other end of the room. I ask them if it ever troubled them to devote their lives, and expensive educations, to a trivial game. They look at me as if I've lost my mind, and Paul actually laughed. 'Oh, you mean as opposed to working in some deeply meaningful job on Wall Street?' he said."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:32 PM on May 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


She could have moved to England and directed a basketball team like I did.
posted by parmanparman at 10:54 PM on May 2, 2012


What I suspect Jessica Dorrell failed to realize, not being a woman in football, is what a gift she was given. She never had to struggle to get her foot in the door, work for free or move away from her home to a school with which she had no connection in pursuit of her dream.
Is it really common in college sports to expect to be hired at a school near your home with which you have a connection?

In academia, when professors are hired, nobody gives preference to a candidate because they went to college there or live nearby.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:50 AM on May 3, 2012


Yeah, but the drive of a professor isn't based on loyalty to the performance of the local school's academic personnel, either. Sports enthusiasts often love both their game of choice and their home teams - although loving one's scholarly discipline may be analogous to loving a particular game, I'm hard-pressed to identify an academic analogue for home-team passion.
posted by gingerest at 2:05 AM on May 3, 2012


Good grief, I've been having to live with this crap for the past month. I work at the University of Arkansas, doing IT support for faculty and staff.

We had network-breaking news briefs about this. I think mostly because football equals money here.

We have a new sports complex being funded, and folks were worried that if Petrino was gone, we wouldn't have the money to finish it. Because Jeff Long fired Petrino, there was a HUGE donation. Amazingly enough, the construction work is happening, faster than any work for the Arts and Sciences College.

I was actually pretty happy that Jeff Long fired Petrino. The fact that the coach used his phone paid for by the U of A to send/receive messages, pictures (and not just of Ms. Dorrell), etc., just showed to me that he was basically dumb. Even my teenaged son commented, "Dude, it's so easy to get a burner phone."

I think everyone involved was stupid and destined to get caught. I feel for the families, friends, and other loved ones.
posted by lilywing13 at 2:43 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I understand what Harder is trying to get at, but I don't think she realises -- or I hope she doesn't realise -- that articles like that also make it harder for women to be taken seriously as individuals instead of representatives of womanhood.

To be fair, do you think Sports Illustrated would/could run an article that attacked sports for sexism and corruption? The narrative always has to be "one bad apple" as opposed to the system being corrupt, because SI is part of the system. No matter who wrote the article, this was the article that was going to be written. Heck, it had to be written by a woman -- can you imagine the effect of having a man write that article? Even SI knew better....

Is it really common in college sports to expect to be hired at a school near your home with which you have a connection?

A lot of people going to school want to work at that school or, at least, somewhere close. They either grew up in that town or they moved there (quite possibly the first move of their life) at great effort, they have usually found a niche, maybe started a relationship, made some friends -- the most convenient thing is to find a job nearby. It's kind of delusional, given the number or jobs vs the number of graduates for most programs, but it's not surprising.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:54 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


We could have an informal poll. How many of the people that you know get ahead purely on merit? v. What fraction of the the people who you know that get ahead by sucking ass or sucking dick?

Kim Kardashian is a prototype of the ambitious successful person in the United States in 2012. Bobby Petrino may well have had to do more-or-less the exact same shit when he was 25 years old.
posted by bukvich at 6:44 AM on May 3, 2012


The thing that bothers me the most about her article is that she calls herself...and other women in this profession..."Football Chicks." Geez.
posted by Kokopuff at 8:02 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I take issue with a lot of Harder's article, but as a woman who participates in an overwhelmingly male-dominated sport I understand her frustration.

You work and work to try to be taken seriously as an athlete (or in her case a football professional), deal with having people question your womanhood, your gender, overcoming stereotypes, fight the objectification and sexist expectations. You want to be respected for your talents, not you looks, to be seen as an accomplished individual in your own right, without the phrase "for a girl" hanging in the air or the implication that you get extra attention or recognition because of your gender.

But then, as the sports world opens up, you get an influx of women who play right into the objectification and all, for example slap on booty shorts, a push-up sports bra, and wear knee-high socks that say something like "Like my snatch?" on it. And because your sport is still male-dominated, and men are still the ones largely directing media attention, it is these women who start getting attention, becoming the face of the sport, and that just further reinforces the stereotypes. It's their choice, just like it was Dorrell's choice, and they are free to wear what they want and act how they want. And you don't let the guys doing the objectifying and stereotyping off the hook either. But at the same time, it is so, so hard to not feel resentful--because it's one thing when you're being stereotyped by a guy, it's another thing when it feels a fellow member of your gender is cheering him on as he does it. When your hobby/sport/profession means a lot to you, and the gender thing is a major stumbling block, that shit feels like a betrayal. Irrational to think that, yeah, but it is what it is.
posted by schroedinger at 1:19 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is kind of weird, though, that both sides of the argument now have a young woman to fire on. I was going to say, snarkily, that it's a good day to be a middle-aged male millionaire in America. Then I realised that, yeah, of course it is. It's _always_ a good day to be a middle-aged male millionaire in America.

(And who would bet against Petrino finding a new job - less lucrative, but still high-paying, at a smaller college football program hungry for results - and his narrative of having been seduced manipulated by a gold-digging careerist and having learned his lesson accepted uncritically? Whereas I have a feeling this is basically the end of Dorrell's career in college football, so hopefully Harder is right that she was never seriously interested in a career in college football anyway...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:27 AM on May 4, 2012


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