The differences in wealth and status between the two groups were apparent in their choice of hotels. The NCAA was ensconced at the ultramodern Peachtree Plaza, with its half-acre lake-in-the-lobby that helped refresh the amendment-weary conventioneers. Because they wanted the media and their male counterparts to take notice of their convention, too, the AIAW leaders overlooked the fact that Georgia is a non-ERA state and checked in across town at the construction-ravaged Colony Square Hotel. In exchange for a reduced $28 room rate, delegates had to cope with near-freezing temperatures in the lobby—owing to the fact that part of the Colony Square's roof was missing—and with little signs put up by the management that read: WE'RE NOT REMODELING. THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT RUNS THROUGH OUR BASEMENT.
There was a bit of rumbling in one of the basement ballrooms at around 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8, as Joan Hult, head of the AIAW's Ethics & Eligibility Committee, was explaining the "no harassment" recruiting amendment that would make it improper for a coach to exchange anything more than "pleasantries" with a high school player or her parents. It would replace a milder rule that permitted coaches to deliver a full sales pitch to a recruit—provided the player or her parents initiated the conversation. As Hult was about to move on to another matter, a young administrator from the University of Detroit, Lydia Sims, stood up and asked the question that had been on everyone's mind: "How will this be policed?"
For a moment the huge hall filled with almost 900 delegates, observers and journalists fell silent. The women who had been concentrating on their needlepoint looked up. Merrily Dean Baker, the women's athletic director at Princeton, stopped rocking her 4-month-old daughter, Jennifer, who was asleep in a baby buggy. Hult stared back at Sims and replied, "We are built upon self-policing." After that statement, there was so much snickering and shuffling of papers that the chair was almost obliged to gavel the meeting back to order.
The incident illuminates the AIAW's most pressing dilemma. It cannot—or will not—come up with the money for a full-time enforcement unit, and so it professes not to need one. Its solution to keeping the shady ladies from overrunning the good sports is to use a lot of holier-than-thou talk.
"You can't legislate morality," says Texas Women's Athletic Director Donna Lopiano, "but I think that women are different from men. I don't think we're doomed to repeating the men's mistakes."
"Women have different ego gratifications than men," says Baker of Princeton. "Our expectation levels are different, and I don't think we're headed down the same road. There are opportunities now that I never had as a girl, and yet we're not pushing young women into the same high-pressure recruiting situations that men go through."
But there are indications already that there will be a wide discrepancy between the letter—and spirit—of the no-harassment rule, which passed by a vote of 230-212, and the tactics of recruiters.
"I could turn in 100 violators tomorrow," said Kansas State Coach Judy Akers only a month after the rule's passage.
"As soon as they passed the rule, I heard coaches joking about it," says Lynn George, women's athletic director at George Washington. "They were saying, 'I'll take my brother or sister along to talk to a recruit.' Besides, who is going to time 'pleasantries'? When do they start and stop?"
"A lot of women in this game are awfully naive—not only about how big it's gotten, but about each other," says Marianne Stanley, the 23-year-old coach at Old Dominion who exemplifies the new breed that is taking over the sport. Stanley is not a tenured member of the phys ed department. She is strictly a coach, and she must win to keep her job. "Women approach this like a tea party," she says. "Well, that's not realistic when you're giving out scholarships based on athletic ability. The AIAW talks about the purity of its system curing its ills. What good are rules if they can't enforce them? I just saw a college coach with the same high school recruit on four consecutive days."