The first public rumblings of recruiting problems, long associated with men's intercollegiate athletics, are now coming from the women's camp.

The initial salvo locally came this week when Lynn George, director of women's athletics at George Washington University, revealed that American University's women's basketball team has been penalized for a recruiting violation last year.

George told The Washington Post her purpose in revealing the incident was not to hurt AU or the unnamed player involved, but to focus attention on current procedures she feels are inadequate for the self-policing of women's intercollegiate athletics.

The women's programs at GW and AU, like those at other area colleges, are governed by the rules of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. The schools fall under the Eastern Division of the AIAW.

AU's violation was to give a first-year transfer student, recruited for her athletic abilities, financial and First-year transfers are not allowed athletic scholarships under AIAW rules.

As soon as AU discovered its error last February, it voluntarily suspended the student for the rest of the season (six games) and reported itself to the EAIAW.

The EAIAW notified AU last April that the women's basketball team would be ineligible for postseason championship games in 1978 and cut the number of athletic scholarships permitted the team from 12 to 11.

Ray Murphy, an official in AU's athletic department, said the student, who has since resigned from the team for unrelated reasons, was completely dependent on financial aid for her education.

She received financial aid from a number of basic sources and only her tuition ($3,240) came through athletic funds, Murphy said.

The snafu over the ban on such aid to transfer students came because the people processing her application were unfamiliar with the AIAW rule, Murphy said. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which governs men's sports, allows such aid but does not permit first-year transfers to play.

The distinction between the AIAW and NCAA rules was not caught until the violation had been made, Murphy said.

While acknowledging that the incident could be just an "innocent mistake," George said word of the violation and penalty has never been made public. If she had known about the violation when it occurred, George said, she would not have scheduled AU this year.

In line with the AIAW's dictum to self-police, George said she still may not schedule AU until the student has graduated. (Wednesday's GW-AU game was played as scheduled, with AU winning, 76-64).

"AU has not really done anything wrong," George said. "They reported themselves to show good faith with compliance of the rules."

What bothers George and other local college coaches are the persistent rumors of recruiting violations in this area and nationally.

"It's unfortunate a lot of other schools have been penalized and not had their names released," said Murphy who refused to elaborate.

The AIAW has no national enforcement body, as the NCAA does, to investigate reports of violations, so it is incumbent on each school to do its own policing and police other schools.

One way of punishing violators, George said, is to refuse to schedule them. If schools do not take such actions against violators, she predicted "wholesale pirating" of atheletes from school to school will increase.

But, since the names of violators - schools or individuals - are not released by the AIAW, there is little chance ofthe self-policing being successful, she contended.

Jeanne Rowlands, head of the EAIAW's ethics and eligibility committee, said she will ask the EAIAW executive board in March to recommend publication of the violators' names.

"We're not going to run around the country policing everybody. They're going to have to police themselves," Rowlands said. "My concern is that we deal with this ourselves. Otherwise we'd have to create an incredible bureaucracy."

She also noted that "there is an extraordinary amount of smoke (rumors of violations). I'm very much unable to make an intelligent judgment about how much fire there really is."