Johnson resigns

Embattled Deputy Athletic Director Corey Johnson resigned from USF Thursday.

Johnson sent his letter of resignation to USF Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon stating his departure would take effect Oct. 21.

The resignation comes after two females in USF’s athletic department filed complaints of sexual harassment, however, in the letter Johnson stated his resignation was not because of any wrongdoing.

“I make this decision out of respect for the university president, Lee Roy Selmon and the staff of our athletics program,” Johnson stated in the letter.

Selmon confirmed the resignation with a letter to Johnson and thanked him for his contributions to the university, including the development of plans for the new athletics facility.

Selmon and Johnson did not return repeated phone calls Thursday.

Johnson’s position was created to handle the day-to-day operations in the athletics department. Johnson was hired with a $100,000 salary and a $450-per-month automobile stipend.

Allegations of dishonesty and inappropriate behavior were filed against Johnson at Colorado State University during his service as the athletic director from 1992-93.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised by this,” said Michael Reich, USF director for media relations.

But for Bill Carr, whose consulting firm was hired to conduct the search for USF’s deputy athletic director, he said the resignation came as a surprise to him.

“I was not aware that he resigned,” Carr said.

Reich said Carr Sports Associates, which was paid $15,000, recommended candidates for the position. The recommendation, however, did not include a written report on Johnson’s background.

Only a verbal report recommending candidates was given to the university, Reich said. Johnson was hired in August 2001. Reich said Selmon was hired a few months before Johnson by the same firm and the university was given a written assessment of the athletics program, which mentioned Selmon in the report.

And a verbal report identifying the candidates for the athletic director’s position was issued as well, Reich said.

Reich added that a written report was not issued in Johnson’s case because it was the only two times that Carr’s firm was used.

Reich would not comment on whether the university would use Carr Sports Associates for a future recommendation.

USF President Judy Genshaft said in an interview Wednesday that all high-profile positions for employment at the university require background checks.

“The search firm was expected to do the background checks,” Genshaft said. “(Carr) said he did that, but obviously not by the information provided.”

A memo at CSU listed allegations made against Johnson before he left the institute, but Carr said he was given no reason why Johnson should not be considered for the position at USF.

“The information I presented with what the memo expressed was inconsistent,” Carr said. “I’ve been in this business for 10 years, and I’m very thorough with what I do. I did the background check without question, and I spoke to the appropriate person.”

Johnson’s application for employment at USF listed Carr as a reference after he was hired by the university. Carr led the search for obtaining information about potential candidates; Reich said Carr was listed as a reference because he recommended Johnson for the position.

Betsy Kovacs, president for Association of Management Consulting Firms, said listing the search firm’s leader as a reference on an employment application is not a conflict of interest.

“One cannot predict a reference will automatically give a good evaluation,” Kovacs said. “But we’re smart enough to give a person who we know will give a good reference … you’d be stupid not to, but it’s not unethical.”

Carr would not comment on why he was listed as a reference on Johnson’s employment application.