On Wednesday, Nov. 4, Steptoe & Johnson, the WVU College of Law along with its student organizations the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, the Black Law Student Association and the Women’s Law Caucus will present a special guest speaker to promote diversity at West Virginia University.

They will host Ms. Elsa Cole. Cole, the first and current General Counsel of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), will visit Morgantown and is scheduled to speak at the Erickson Alumni Center at 5 p.m. Cole led the effort to create the NCAA’s first legal department in 1997.

In the late 1960s, Cole attended Stanford University with the intention of becoming a teacher, but when she saw other female classmates declaring pre-med majors and moving into traditionally male-dominated fields, she set her sights on law.

Upon graduating with distinction in 1971, Cole earned her J.D. from Boston University, and then returned to the west coast as an assistant attorney general for the State of Washington. She represented the University of Washington in sexual harassment and discrimination matters, occasionally traveling to small-town courtrooms, where she was the first female attorney to ever argue a case.

In 1989, with more than a decade of expertise in higher education, Cole left the attorney general’s office to become general counsel at the University of Michigan. There, she used her knowledge to develop policies on affirmative action, sexual harassment and a student code of conduct. This experience provided the foundation she needed to serve as the NCAA Vice President of Legal Affairs – a position she accepted eight years later.

Immediately following Cole’s presentation, the WVU College of Business and Economics and the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences will host: “The Business of Sports” – a roundtable discussion featuring notable sports figures including: Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Sam Huff; Managing General Partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ken Kendrick: current team president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer, Oliver Luck; and Chairman of the Board and principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Robert Nutting. The panel will be moderated by Forest “Jack” Bowman, Professor Emeritus, of the WVU College of Law.

For more information on Steptoe & Johnson’s sponsorship of the Elsa Cole event, contact Michele L. Bendekovic, Director of Attorney Recruiting and Professional Development (304.598.5362 or michele.bendekovic@steptoe-johnson.com).



CONTACT: Brian Caudill, College of Law
304-293-7439, Brian.Caudill@mail.wvu.edu