It might seem like professional destiny that Brooke Williams, STH ’17, ’19, now serves as a director of Athletic Compliance at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. After all, the NCAA Division I lacrosse player with degrees from Temple’s undergraduate and graduate sport management programs was ideally positioned for her job.
Shoot and score
When Williams was first recruited to play for Temple, she had no idea that sport management was an academic discipline. Her initial focus was prelaw, until she realized it was not the right fit. At a friend’s suggestion, she matriculated at the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management.
Williams played for the Temple Owls in the Big East Conference all four years, which she calls an unforgettable experience. During that time, she also got involved with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and worked on issues like student-athlete time demands, providing her with invaluable lessons in advocacy, policymaking and administration.
“I thought to myself: I love this. I’m going to do this,” she said. “I had that kind of lightbulb moment.”
Her program’s internship requirements prepared her for working in the industry, but it was a graduate school assignment to conduct a professional interview that led her to her current position. During the conversation with a compliance overseer at USC, the woman revealed that an assistant director job was opening up.
After she accepted the job offer, she moved to California and was able to continue her studies remotely. One very busy year later, she was promoted to her current position as a director. Now, she oversees compliance for four of the school’s sports programs to ensure that NCAA, Pac-12, and university rules and regulations are enforced. She also serves as a compliance liaison for multiple constituent groups across campus and within the athletics department.
“What really drives me to do this job is the behind the scenes work, so many people don’t understand the role that compliance plays,” she said.
“I don’t really need external fulfillment. Writing a waiver to get a kid eligible and seeing them on the volleyball court, or watching as someone walks across the stage to graduate—you’re able to help people fill in the gaps to live out their dreams.”
Returning to the nest
In the fall of 2020, Williams “returned” to Temple to teach an online athletic administration course, helping create a curriculum that reflects the current realities of college athletics.
Her desire to give back emerges from the inspiration she draws from her Temple experiences—as an athlete and from the other side as a graduate assistant in the compliance office. She admired how the administrators there engaged with the student-athletes in a personal and not merely punitive or transactional way.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “I’ve had work experience and I’ve also been a student-athlete, so I think I have a lot to bring to the table.”
—By Elisa Ludwig, CLA ’99, and Lauri Kochis