Oct. 26, 2010

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The NCAA is getting a new top cop at one of the busiest times in its history.

New NCAA President Mark Emmert announced Tuesday that Julie Roe Lach will replace David Price as the governing body's vice president of enforcement.

Price announced in August that he would retire in December. Lach has served as the NCAA's director of enforcement since April 2004.

Some changes were already in the works when Emmert officially took office earlier this month. He had started reshuffling the NCAA's staff, in part, to cut costs. The promotion of Lach is the first big announcement Emmert has made and it comes amid a major NCAA investigation into improper contacts between student-athletes and agents at several big-time programs.

The enforcement staff is also looking into alleged rules violations at several BCS football and basketball programs.

Lach, the sixth enforcement chief in NCAA history and the first woman to hold the title, wants to change how the NCAA does business by providing more transparency about the investigative process - not the cases themselves.

"We want to shed the mystery about how the enforcement staff operates," Lach said. "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."

Emmert praised the work done under Price and Lach credited the recent spate of high-profile cases to the enforcement staff's ability to cultivate sources.

The announcement comes one day after the NCAA acknowledged it was working with the NFL, the NFL Players Association and sports agents to find new ways to enforce rules prohibiting improper agent-related benefits for student-athletes.

New rules could be in place within three to five months.

While Lach did not comment on those discussions, she intends to make some changes.

"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," she said. "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 joined the NCAA staff in 1998 as a student-athlete reinstatement representative after one year as an intern. She was named director of student-athlete reinstatement in 1999 and director of enforcement in 2004.

She recently completed a nine-year tenure on the board of trustees at Millikin University, her alma mater. Lach graduated from Indiana's law school and is a member of the state bar association.