The N.C.A.A. ousted its chief enforcement officer Monday in the wake of a report detailing missteps in the organization’s handling of a high-profile investigation of the University of Miami.
A.J. Mast for The New York Times
Mark Emmert, the N.C.A.A. president, called Julie Roe Lach perfect for the job of chief enforcement officer when he appointed her just over two years ago.
The N.C.A.A.’s president, Mark Emmert, said that he had appointed Jonathan Duncan, a lawyer, as the interim vice president for enforcement, filling the role previously held by Julie Roe Lach. Emmert had appointed Roe Lach, a longtime N.C.A.A. employee, to the position just over two years ago, calling her perfect for the job.
Emmert declined to comment on Roe Lach’s status during a call with reporters Monday in which he responded to the findings of an external investigation showing that N.C.A.A. investigators had violated internal protocols, acted against the advice of legal counsel and went beyond the organization’s own limits while looking for evidence in the Miami case.
“Obviously, this is an outcome that nobody wants to see on their watch or anybody else’s,” Emmert said, adding, “This is something that is an embarrassment to the association and our staff.”
The N.C.A.A. has faced numerous challenges in recent months. In January, Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania sued the organization over its handling of the child sexual abuse case involving Penn State and the punishment it handed down against the university. The N.C.A.A. has also faced criticism for its handling of recent high-profile cases involving North Carolina, U.C.L.A., Southern California and other universities.
Last month the N.C.A.A. said that it had uncovered evidence that its investigators had violated its own rules while examining accusations that a booster, Nevin Shapiro, gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, as well as other benefits, to dozens of Miami students.
The missteps, Emmert said, had to do with N.C.A.A. investigators’ contracting with a criminal lawyer for Shapiro to obtain information they otherwise would not have been able to obtain. At the time he called the conduct “shocking” and “stunning.”
The N.C.A.A. commissioned Kenneth Wainstein, a lawyer with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and a former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, to conduct an investigation into the matter to help determine what further steps should be taken.
Wainstein, who was on the call with Emmert on Monday, said Roe Lach was cooperative throughout the investigation. “She was very upright, candid and cooperative, and seemingly very truthful with us,” he said.
Roe Lach, who grew up in Pinckneyville, a coal-mining town in southern Illinois, played college basketball at Millikin University, in Decatur, Ill. She joined the N.C.A.A. as an intern, and worked her way up the ranks, becoming a director of enforcement in 2004.
Her former boss, David Price, whom she eventually replaced after his retirement, said of Roe Loch in 2011, “It was just obvious she was going to be a superstar from the outset,” adding, “She always made people around her better.”