Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sports Scholar at UNF; Candidate Also Is a College Provost

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Sports Scholar at UNF; Candidate Also Is a College Provost

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Kormanik, Times-Union staff writer

The next president of the University of North Florida should be ready to investigate whether the NCAA Division II school should move to a Division I athletic program, university officials have said.

One of the six candidates for UNF president brings a unique background as a sports scholar that could inform that decision.

Arthur Johnson, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, studies the relationship between sports and government and also has coached on the collegiate level.

Trained as a political scientist, Johnson has authored books on government and sports and researched horse racing, minor league baseball, the National Football League and sports agents. In his early academic appointments, Johnson started intercollegiate sports programs and coached women's basketball teams at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne and at Tarkio College in Missouri.

He is widely quoted as a sports management expert on topics including baseball strikes and publicly financed stadiums and also has written opinion pieces for the Baltimore Sun, USA Today, Baseball Weekly and the Arizona Republic.

But Johnson now emphasizes his accomplishments after five years as provost. Johnson touts the work of task forces on topics including undergraduate education, enrollment and gender equity in sciences and engineering. He also has maintained good relations with faculty despite budget cutbacks that forced the university to implement furloughs, or unpaid leave, for most of its staff, according to Faculty Senate President Cheryl Miller.

"Our loss would be anyone's gain," Miller said. …

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