The saga of USF Deputy Athletic Director Corey Johnson is never ending. While allegations of Johnson’s inappropriate behavior have not been proved, he seems to cause a problem wherever he goes. But the fault is not to be placed solely on Johnson; it is the university’s fault, and that of the athletic department, that more bad publicity has been foisted onto USF.
There is no excuse for USF to have hired a deputy athletic director without conducting a background check. What is even more unforgivable is the lack of concern for the $15,000 that was spent. The university does not have excess funds to throw around. The fact that the athletic department allowed an outside agency, whose job it is to conduct background checks among other things, to get away without doing a thorough job is unspeakable.
And while Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon would like to claim ignorance, that defense will not hold up. An article in Saturday’s edition of The Tampa Tribune reported that Selmon did not know of the circumstances surrounding Johnson’s dismissal from his previous position at Colorado State University. “It is surprising. I did not have knowledge of it,” Selmon is quoted as saying. As Johnson’s boss and primary hiring agent Selmon should have been the first person to know of Johnson’s work history.
Carr Sports Associates, the firm hired by the University to help conduct the search for the new deputy athletic director, has been silent regarding the terms of its contract with USF. According to the firm, any work that was or was not done would have been so at the discretion of the university.
While the last thing USF needs is another scandal, the state of the athletic department has been on thin ice since fall 2000 and the allegations against former woman’s basketball coach, Jerry Ann Winters. This latest development involving Corey Johnson and inadvertently, Lee Roy Selmon, does not help elevate the state of USF, its athletic program or its ability to be recognized solely for its athletic prowess.