Contending that a student-athlete who transfers schools should have the same opportunities to pursue her interests as an art major would, the governing body of women's collegiate sports blocked attempts today to have such athletes declared ineligible to play for one year.
Representatives of some of the smaller colleges belonging to the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women lobbied to change the eligibility rules for financial and competitive reasons.
The larger, and presumably wealthier colleges, would have an unfair advantage in being able to lure talented players away from the smaller and budget-pinched schools with offers of considerable financial aid, the sponsors of the eligibility motion argued.
If the female student-athletes, like the male student-athletes, were prohibited from competing in sports for a year at their[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] (as are male student[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] be less[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] ors claimed.
But the majority[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] tives of the 430 AIAW-affiliated colleges at the organization annual convention here, plus the student representatives, thought[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] would limit women's athletic opportunities.
Opponents of the proposal also cited a survey that showed about 13 to 15 per cent of all women students entering four-year colleges eventually transfer. Since AIAW athletes number about 80,000 this year, 10,400 to 12,000 would be denied participation in their respective sports during one of their college years if the legislation had passed.
Transfer students, however, still will be ineligible for financial aid during their first year at their new college.
The convention also voted to permit men to play on women's teams when required under standards set forth under Title 9, a federal law barring sex discrimination in, among other things, athletics. In such rare cases, athletic opportunities for men must previously have been limited.
An attempt to modify legislation passed Monday, permitting coaches to visit a school for a "talent assessment" of a prospective athlete but forbidding the coaches from talking with her during the visit was defeated. Several delegates said it was foolish to spend the money traveling to the schools while being barred from speaking with the athlete.
An accompanying motion on the "talent assessment" trips had been misinterpreted by a number of delegates. The convention voted to allow colleges to pay for the scouting trips. The coaches previously had to pay out of their own pockets for them.
The convention wrestled much of this afternoon with a number of complex proposals to reorganize the AIAW, but postponed action until Wednesday when it became clear more information on their potential impact was necessary.
A compromise proposal that appeared to be gaining support would restructure the AIAW, now divided into "small" and "large" college divisions, into three divisions similar to those of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the men's collegiate governing body.
The AIAW proposals, which could have great economic impact on member colleges, would require the sponsorship of a minimum number of sports, based on the institution's enrollment, to qualify for a particular division.