Tag:Julie Roe Lach
Posted on: February 21, 2011 1:29 pm

NCAA to get more involved in recruiting

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been quite an enlightening year in the world of college football recruiting. We've learned a lot about the contact between players and agents in the recruiting process, as well as of alleged solicitation of money by player's parents. Which, when you get down to it, has shown that the NCAA has been on the outside looking in more often than not. I mean, if these are the cases that are being caught and brought to the public's attention, try and imagine everything that has gone on that we don't know about.

It seems that the NCAA has thought about this, and that's why it is planning on getting a lot more involved in the world of college football recruiting in the immediate future.
The NCAA enforcement staff will focus on football recruiting in a new way in the coming months, a project Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach has discussed with member institutions and the media since assuming her new position last fall.
The initiative – which is not guaranteed to lead to a football-focused, dedicated staff like the Basketball Focus Group – is part of a collaboration between the major-enforcement and agents, gambling and amateurism staff. The latter group made headlines last summer for uncovering various agent-related violations among football student-athletes at several Division I institutions.
Five investigators from major-enforcement and two from the agents, gambling and amateurism staff will spend the next several months building relationships in the football recruiting world (both scholastic and non-scholastic) and gathering information about what is happening in that sport. AGA Director Rachel Newman Baker will lead the group. The intent is to make sure the enforcement staff becomes as knowledgeable about football recruiting as it has grown to be about basketball recruiting.
“We have an idea of what’s going on, but we don’t want to assume anything,” Lach said. “We are trying to find out what the issues are that we need to be tackling. The idea is just to get more information."
In other words, instead of finding out what has happened after the fact, the NCAA plans to be in on the process as it's happening. According to our own Bryan Fischer, he talked to a couple of members of the NCAA that told him they were handing out cards to as many players and coaches as they could. This way both sides can remain in touch about what is going on during that player's recruitment, and could possibly help stave off any kind of trouble. It also sends a message to everybody that the NCAA is aware of what's going on, which may help keep violations from occuring.

Now, while the NCAA still has a long way to go before it can clean up the world of recruiting in its entirety, it's nice to see that it has taken this important first step and that it's now a priority.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 1:42 pm

Q&A with Julie Roe Lach

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It’s been a busy few months for NCAA vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach. After taking over officially at the start of November, Roe Lach has been busy meeting with compliance officers and those connected with enforcement as part of the NCAA’s top-to-bottom review of enforcement processes. Additionally, she’s had to deal with several high profile cases that have attracted intense media attention. 

At the recent NCAA convention in San Antonio, Roe Lach took the time to discuss a number of topics, including new legislation, high profile cases and her thoughts on how busy the enforcement staff has become this past year. 

CBSSports.com: Although you’re not directly responsible, what’s been the reaction from the membership on the Ohio State and Cam Newton cases? 

Roe Lach: The cases you mentioned were decided by our Student-Athlete Reinstatement department, which is actually housed in the Academic and Membership Affairs branch. That group decides all athlete eligibility issues. I work in the enforcement side and we investigate and deal with institutional responsibilities, boosters, coaches, administrators. I don’t go and talk to them. If issues come up that’s one thing. (The compliance offices) understand there are different processes in play. Those discussions, if they have questions, comments, support, or concerns, would be directed towards our Academic and Membership affairs group. 

CBSSports.com: President Emmert said he will be introducing legislation that will look to close some of the loopholes regarding parents soliciting pay for play, do you have any details on the legislation? 

Roe Lach: There’s been a lot of input not just from the national office but staff, from our enforcement experience, the Academic Affairs group, also membership input. That’s part of what President Emmert has shared. I met with the football coaches earlier this week and shared the concept with them. President Emmert has also met with a group of their leaders and he’s working to get together with basketball coaches as well. Right now, it’s in concept form. The ideas are there but we want to make sure that we’re going to get it right. That’s why there’s not any emergency legislation being adopted at the convention. We recognize the need to bring in all the stakeholders and say, ‘What makes sense here, what doesn’t, what are we missing?’ We hope that by taking the time now, in the drafting process, that something concrete can go forward in April. Even then, if the board adopts it, it can still go out for comment if they want more input from the membership at that point. 

CBSSports.com: Agents have been in the news a lot recently, what are some of the steps the NCAA is taking to make sure they are not violating rules by talking with or paying athletes? 

Roe Lach: I think it’s important to note that our rules currently allow for conversation and seeking advice by prospects from agents and advisors. The issue is you can’t have a contract and you can’t take benefits. Where I think there’s confusion at times is, schools or teams will have rules that say no contact with an agent during the season. And then of course the NFLPA has what’s coined the ‘Junior Rule.’ The one issue is just making sure everyone understands what rules currently exists and by whom. I don’t think we’re suggesting rules that we’re going to somehow restrict that access that is currently allowed. It’s just the issue is larger than that. Rather than approach it from a regulatory standpoint, let’s look at it from an information standpoint. What information is currently going to our student-athletes that have the potential to go professional, when is that information going to them and who’s giving it to them. Are they getting it when they come on campus and saying, ‘I want to go to the NFL or NBA.’ And if they’re not getting it from a coach or academic advisor or someone they’ve developed a relationship with on their campus, then are they getting it from someone that doesn’t have their best interests in mind and how can we fix that. Rather than passing new rules, let’s really look at what information is available and who’s giving it and what should be available and who’s giving it and when. 

CBSSports.com: Starting with the USC case earlier last year, it seems as though we’ve had a lot more “high profile” cases recently, is there something you have to tell schools to focus on in light of these cases? 

Roe Lach: I think one thing we continuously tell schools is the need to recognize what are the issues that you have on your campus. Whether its elite athlete issues or you’re in a college town with a couple of elite big time boosters that want to employ your student-athletes, there’s a laundry list of issues that don’t exist on every campus. Maybe one or two exist on each campus. So what our school do, and do a good job of, is say here’s our situation, here are the potential landmines so we need to be looking out for these issues and then what do we need to do from an education standpoint and then from a monitoring standpoint. 

CBSSports.com: Has there been any thought to creating a Football Focus Group to deal with issues similar to the Basketball Focus Group? 

Roe Lach: What we’re doing is exploring if we need to have a dedicated group focused on football. So we’re working on it. We’re trying to figure out, and we think we know what the issues are, but rather than just base that on our current knowledge, we’re doing some outreach. We’re going to be out there in the spring. We’re already attending some of the elite events, 7-on-7 tournaments, going to high schools in hotbed regions where football prospects pull from to talk to those folks and say what are the issues from your perspective, especially in the recruiting environment. Then how does that translate into what do we need to do from an enforcement standpoint to be the most effective. Do we need to have staff dedicated to football like we do in basketball? Do we need to approach it from a different standpoint rather than have four people do you have eight who spend half their time doing football or something else? Do we need to hire some former football coaches because we don’t have the level of expertise we need? I think all those questions need to be asked but it’s premature to start answering them. We need to get more information.” 

CBSSports.com: You’ve worked in enforcement for awhile, can you remember a time where you’ve been busier than this? 

Roe Lach: I’ve been getting that question a lot. We certainly are busy. I think most of our issues are generating more media scrutiny or attention, as well as the public. I don’t know if that means we’re busier, it’s just in the past, so many of our issues were not on the front page. So the level and scrutiny wasn’t there. It’s not like we’ve had this huge upswing in cases. We have seen (a rise), like on the agent side, but that’s been a five year effort to develop sources and outreach as a result. As a result of that, the staff has generated some cases that they weren’t generating five years ago because we didn’t have the knowledge and contact base. I don’t know if that means they’re busier but the work has changed a little bit.

Category: NCAAF
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