Colleges would have to equalize their spending on athletic scholarships and recruiting for male and female athletes, based on their respective participation in sports, under a proposal by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

That proposal and others potentially affecting financing of intercollegiate sports were contained in an HEW report obtained yesterday by The Washington Post.

The long-awaited report was drafted by a special task force in HEWs Office for Civil Rights.

While the proposals would necessitate equal per-capita spending for scholarships, returning and other financially measurable items, they would not mandate dollar-for-dollar spending.

There would be leeway for spending disprities, provided they result from "sex-neutral" factors and don't have a negative effect on the opportunities of either sex.

As an example of a "sex-neutral" factor, the report cites differences in equipment costs and long-range program decisions.

Significantly, the proposals cite college football costs as an example of spending disparities that might be defensible.

The draft report, expected to be released next week, will be sent to college presidents, athletic directors and men's and women's sports organizations for a 60-day comment period.

Then, the proposals, with or without alterations, will become HEW policy. Any new policy will affect application of segments of Title 9 - the federal law barring sex discrimination in athletic programs of colleges and school systems getting federal aid. Failure to comply with Title 9 means losing federal aid.

When the original Title 9 regulations were developed, sections were left vague to allow flexible implementation. The new proposals seek to interpret what constitutes compliance.

On scholarships, for example, the original regulations call for "reasonable opportunities" for such awards. Many find that phrase ambiguous. Consequently, women at many colleges got few scholarships.

The current draft reports represents a two-tiered approach to ending sex discrimination in college sports. The first stage would establish criteria for immediately eliminating financial discrepancies between the men's and women's programs; the second would deal with long-range measures to expand and upgrade sports opportunities for women.

The report notes that the proposals would not necessarily result in identical anthletic programs for men and women, because rates of participation, interests and abilities vary. The report states that, where appropriate, the policies would apply to intramural and club sports.

In determining if sex discrimination has been eliminated, HEW investigators would examine separately the benefits and opportunities that are financially measurable, and those that are not.

A college would be presumed to be complying if it is "allocating substantially equal average per capital amounts of money to participating male and female athletes for financial assistance awarded on the basis of athletic ability, recruitement and all other financially measurable benefits and opportunities."

Additionally, colleges would have to provide comaprable benefits and opportunities that are not financially measurable. Schools would have to give women comparable opportunity to compete, practice and receive coaching. Other comparisons would invalve academic tutoring, locker rooms, competitive facilities, medical services, training services, housing and dining.

Average per-capita expenditures would be calculated dividing total expenditures on financially measurable benefits for each sex by the total number of participating athletes of each sex. All funds spent on sports, regardless of their source, would be considered.

The number of participants would be determined by "sex-neutrae" methods, such as certified eligibility lists.

Identical recruiting methods would not be required, but "the level of effort and methods used to recruit must be based on sex-neutral criteria," the report stated, noting that recuriting costs may vary from regional to national levels among sports.

David S. Tatel, director of the Office for Civil Rights, said the proposals represent 'an effort to interpret Title 9 in a way which takes into account as much as we can lawfully, the realities of intercollegiate sports and the very serious financial positions many institutions of higher education are in right now.

"We've taken into account that participation by men and women are different. The costs are different, the sports are different, and men's and women's sports may develop differently. We've tried to maximize institutional flexibility. We've left a lot of room on how an institutioin allocates its funds and develops its athletic programs."