Alison Melder — the 26-year-old former bikini model who reportedly exchanged 200 text messages with Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino last year — denied having an affair with the former coach.
Her attorney, Jeffrey Hagood of Hagood, Tarpy & Cox in Knoxville, set the record straight in an email to Deadspin. The sports website broke the story about the texting that occurred between Melder and Petrino between Sept. 12 and Nov. 6 of last year.
“Unfortunately, my client has been drawn into a firestorm that is simply sad,” Hagood wrote. “While she did meet Coach Petrino last fall and kept in touch; the truth is that Alison has never in her life been alone with Coach Petrino. She is not a public figure, and any suggestion that she was involved in an extramarital affair with Coach Petrino is false. And it is actionable.”
The 51-year old Petrino was fired last week for failing to disclose that he had an extramarital affair with 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell before he hired her to work for him as a student-athlete development coordinator. The job paid nearly $56,000 a year. Petrino also gave Dorrell $20,000 to buy a car.
Dorrell has been placed on paid administrative leave.
An Arkansas Republican Party spokeswoman told the Arkansas News Bureau that Melder has been a part-time employee of the state GOP since January 2011.
The Arkansas GOP would not say what job Melder holds, only that she has “various duties, no specific job title” and that “her employment status is under review.”