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Publish date: Dec 20, 2010

Q&A with Charlotte AD Judy Rose

Prominent NCAA leader honored for local and national influence

US Airways in-flight magazine recently named Charlotte Athletics Director Judy Rose as one of the most dynamic women in her city. Rose, a former member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee who currently chairs the Division I Championships and Sport Management Cabinet, was recognized for her work in expanding athletics opportunities at Charlotte – by adding football (set to begin in 2013) and several women’s sports (as yet undecided). In Part 1 of a two-part interview, Rose talks about the honor, her experiences on a national stage and how serving within the NCAA governance structure affected her outlook on college sports. (See Part 2 here)

Charlotte AD Judy Rose.

How do you feel about being named one of Charlotte’s most dynamic women?

Judy Rose: First, I got an e-mail that said that I had been nominated and that I was selected and that I would be contacted by the folks from Pace magazine, the US Airways magazine. They included who was on the selection committee that picked the honorees. I knew quite a few of the people on the selection committee, but I didn’t know who the women were until the day before the event. But folks at the university knew, and that’s how I found out. I was like “Who is in this mix?” I thought I must have been nominated by the university, but I came to find out that wasn’t the only nomination I got – about four people nominated me. I was very humbled.

When I saw the magazine layout before I went to the event, mine was on a page with (well-known community volunteer) Sally Robinson. If you’re in Charlotte and you are beside Sally Robinson… I’m not sure I even deserve this at all when I look at Sally Robinson. I look at the mix of women who were in there, and I don’t feel quite like I’ve done the things they have done. It’s quite a diverse group. It was very humbling.

Have you been on a plane to see it yet?

Rose: I haven’t. I’m flying two days after Christmas with our women’s basketball team to New Orleans; I’ll probably see it then. Within days of the event, I got an e-mail from our former women’s basketball coach who is now at the University of Florida, Amanda Butler, and she wrote: “Judy, just stepped off a US Air flight and saw the article about you.” She went on and on. I’ve heard from so many people who have taken flights.

My neighbor, he travels quite a bit, he was in New York last week. They had a neighborhood Christmas party Saturday night. When I got there he had shown everybody in the neighborhood this magazine, and I was so embarrassed. It’s very nice, but I’m not one who likes a lot of attention drawn to me. Our program, that’s great − all the attention we can get for our program. But for me personally, I just wonder if I’m worthy of that.

You mentioned Title IX several times in your interview for the magazine.

Rose: We were talking about Title IX because I said I am truly a product of Title IX. And I am. I can look at Pat Summitt, Sylvia Hatchell, we were all in graduate school together at Tennessee. We were all hired as basketball coaches and had other duties as well, teaching. We would not have been hired directly out of graduate school to college jobs had it not been for Title IX.

A lot of attention was focused on Title IX because people were not complying. Some forceful mandates came down that scared the folks on college campuses about losing federal funding. They all were starting women’s basketball programs and they needed somebody who had a master’s degree because you also had to teach.

We are all products of Title IX. I wouldn’t be in the job I’m in today had it not been for Title IX. I owe a lot to timing and Title IX. I want people to be educated about Title IX not just because of what it did for women’s athletics but if people read it and study it, they will see we have more female doctors and lawyers because of it. At that time they weren’t admitting too many females to law school and med school, either. It opened up doors that really gave an opportunity to break that glass ceiling for a lot of women across the country today.

Do you think that young women today have an appreciation for the law?

Rose: No. It’s been so far removed from them, I’m not sure they hear enough about it. We try to emphasize it here. We have a fundraising luncheon here to raise money for women’s sports, and we raised more than $90,000 that day. When our student-athletes are there, we make sure they understand and know what Title IX has done for women’s sports. It wasn’t always this way. You know, these kids weren’t born when I was coaching. They can’t understand what it was like when I played college basketball. There were no scholarships and you didn’t fly; you went in a bus or a van. That’s so far removed from them that they have no point of comparison, so I think they lack appreciation. And maybe that’s a good thing. I was asked the other day about how far I think Title IX has come. People don’t even think about it anymore. They just expect women to be treated equally in athletics.

What interests you about the work on the Championships and Sport Management Cabinet?

Rose: I really like the nuts and bolts of the sports programs. That’s really what the Championships Cabinet does. I like the overriding philosophy of why we participate in sports and why we do what we do. Of all of the cabinets, this is the one that really has my interest. I thoroughly enjoyed being on the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. It was probably the best professional experience of my career. What’s important to me is how we take care of our student-athletes and student-athlete welfare, and those things come up through the cabinet.

You mentioned your experience on the basketball committee and how great that experience was. Why?

Rose: I’m a basketball person. I played and coached college basketball. That’s the sport that really is my favorite. Having said that, being selected to be on that committee and to have the opportunity to study basketball to the degree that is required, it was a learning experience (after you get rid of the deer in the headlights look – and everybody has it because of the complexity and the level of responsibility behind it).

Another part of that experience for me was the amount of bonding and trust that is required from the people on that committee. You are assigned conferences that you have to report on, and you’ve got to get it right, and I’ve got to trust my colleagues that have other conferences. They don’t have to worry about me – I have done my homework, I am up to speed and you’ll be as educated as I am because I’m going to make you that way. That bond and level of trust that is there, the commitment to a cause, I’ve not seen that on any other committee I’ve ever served on, within our outside of athletics. It is what I miss the most.

Coming in Part 2 on Tuesday: Rose talks about adding football at her institution.