SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Julie Roe Lach

MARCIA STUBBEMAN / NCAA
Lach’s photo of her father’s fishing boat in her hometown of Pinckneyville, Ill., reminds her of the importance of roots and family.
Julie Roe Lach
NCAA
VP, Enforcement

It didn’t take long for Julie Roe Lach to hit the ground running once she was promoted to vice president of enforcement with the NCAA in late 2010. Completing her ascent from intern in the enforcement department out of college, Lach, 36, took the job at a time when rules violations were being found at some of college sports’ most high-profile programs. In response, she spent six months on the road, getting feedback from coaches, athletic directors and school presidents on how the NCAA can prioritize its authority and educate its constituents. The twofold goal: Help prevent schools from committing rules violations, but also make sure the investigation process is as efficient as possible when it’s needed.

The end result was a restructuring in July that saw the enforcement department add a branch for information development that will complement the investigative and processing divisions already in place. Lach, overseeing a 55-person department, also points to what she calls an “information hub” that would have the group better use technology to gather, retrieve and store case information to help analyze investigations in real time and move them along faster.

— Ryan Baucom
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: Keep your head down and work hard. Every once in a while, look up to make sure you are headed in the right direction, but ultimately, the job needs to get done.
  • What keeps you awake at night?: My little girl, who is 22 months old. Either she is crying for “Mommy” because she can’t find her pacifier, or I wake up and need to check on her to make sure she’s OK.
  • In 10 words or less, how would you describe your management style?: Committed to the all-around development of the person.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Getting away from work. Working in sports is a privilege. However, sports is also incredibly interesting not just to those who spend our careers in the field, but also to the casual or committed fan. It’s hard to take a break sometimes.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Anyone who has known Julie Roe Lach for very long knows that she will be very fair, but they also know she will be very tough — and she prepares herself for every situation that might arise. … There is no question Julie will change the way in which NCAA enforcement is both operated and perceived.”

  • Mark Emmert, President, NCAA
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