Oct. 26, 2010
By David Pickle
Julie Roe Lach, NCAA director of enforcement since April 2004, was announced Tuesday as the new NCAA vice president of enforcement.
She will replace David Price, who will retire in December.
“Julie’s solid experience, incredible energy and innovative ideas make her the perfect choice for our next vice president of enforcement,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “I have complete confidence in Julie’s ability to evaluate the enforcement process and programs from top to bottom. She’ll seek input from our membership and be responsive to their concerns regarding the timeliness of the process while developing initiatives to discover and address violations. We’re excited about the prospect of moving forward with Julie leading this very important function.”
Lach plans to interact with the membership as a first order of business to ensure that enforcement services are as effective as possible.
“I’m going to engage the membership by making campus visits to connect with people who have been involved with the enforcement program,” she said. “Some individuals have first-hand experience based on their institutions’ involvement in an investigation while others have a historical perspective of the enforcement program.
“As I work with the enforcement staff to evaluate our operations, our focus and our structure to ensure we are positioned to address the most pressing issues facing intercollegiate athletics, we want to make sure we are partnering with our members in identifying critical issues that demand our attention. Ultimately, we are accountable to the membership to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible,” she said.
Lach said virtually everything about how the enforcement process functions will be up for review, but she emphasized the overall strength of the staff.
“The enforcement program has had increased attention resulting from a series of high-profile cases,” she said. “Most of these cases are a direct result of the staff’s hard work to cultivate sources and develop a solid understanding of critical issues and trends. We need to learn from this success. We need to examine what is working and constantly question how we can be better.
“The enforcement department consists of an incredibly talented and diverse staff committed to enforcement’s mission. This opportunity to take stock of our strengths while candidly identifying areas for improvement will not undermine the department’s success but rather reinforce our mission while engaging the membership as we set the course for the future.”
Lach said members should take ownership of the enforcement program in a discussion that is removed from a specific case.
“We all have the common goal to have a strong, effective program dealing with issues that run to the core of competitive equity,” she said. “This isn’t going to happen in 30 or 60 days, but I see it as an opportunity to really examine how we can create the best enforcement program we can possibly have to better serve our members.
“An investigative function in a service capacity may seem ironic to some, but not to me. That’s why we need to stay connected to the membership.”
Lach also promised to create a better understanding of enforcement functions.
“We want to bring transparency, not to the cases we’re investigating by any means but in terms of the process,” she said. “We want to shed the mystery about how the enforcement staff operates. That’s something we need to do with the membership and the media to help them understand who enforcement is, who’s on the staff, here’s how we do our job based on the procedures we’ve all agreed to and here’s what we do and why we do it. That’s an ongoing effort, and it’s going to be a big push.”
Lach formally joined the staff in 1998 as a student-athlete reinstatement representative after having served a year as an intern in the enforcement staff’s secondary-violations area. She became director of student-athlete reinstatement in 1999 and director of enforcement in 2004. She also has served as primary staff liaison to the Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct since 2005.
Emmert praised Price, the outgoing vice president.
“I would like to recognize David Price’s fine work as vice president of enforcement over the last 12 years,” Emmert said. “He has made an enormous contribution to the Association through his tireless efforts on behalf of all student-athletes to ensure that fair play and integrity are at the forefront of college athletics.”
In addition to her staff experience, Lach also recently completed nine years of service as a member of the board of trustees at Millikin University, her alma mater. She is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and is a member of the State of Indiana Bar.
Lach will be the first woman to lead the NCAA enforcement division. The previous heads of the area were Art Bergstrom, Warren Brown, Bill Hunt, David Berst and Price.
“It’s not lost on me that I’m the first woman in this role,” she said. “I thought about that as a finalist. Now that my husband and I have a baby girl, I’m especially proud to be the first woman and humbled by the responsibility. We need female role models and females in leadership positions.”