Nixon says, "Cindy told me she was going to Tennessee because she wanted the chance to play on a national champion this year. She also said the Vols had offered her a postgraduate scholarship and an assistant coaching position when she was through playing."
The coaching offer is a severe violation of AIAW rules, and by June 1977 the heat Tennessee was getting over the alleged tampering with Brogdon prompted its women's athletic director, Gloria Ray, to write a letter to Mitchell. It read in part:
"Dear Mr. Mitchell: I think Cindy made it very clear in her interview that it was her decision to transfer and she did so for her own reasons.... My belief is that she was ready for a change and that she made a very difficult decision after much thought and prayer.... I am concerned when words such as 'tampering' and 'illegal recruiting' are used when articles are written about Cindy's decision to transfer...."
This sounded like a non-denial denial to Mitchell, and it struck him as odd that he got a letter from Ray, though he had never requested an explanation from Tennessee. So last fall he verbally protested Brogdon's transfer to AIAW officials. He has not heard a word from them.
Tennessee Tech's coach, Marynell Meadors, was at one time thinking of reporting Head to the E & E Committee for allegedly tampering with one of Tech's players—sophomore Forward Pam Chambers, who has a 16-point scoring average this year and leads the Golden Eaglettes in steals and assists. Says Meadors, "I learned during last year's regional and national tournaments that Pat was trying to recruit Chambers. When I confronted Pat with this, she said my student assistant coach had initiated the proposition as part of a package deal to get a coaching job at Tennessee. I couldn't be sure my assistant hadn't, and so I let it drop. The scary thing about the transfer rule is that it would be possible for someone to come in here and destroy my program overnight."
Compared to the total of 100-plus violations for which the NCAA has cited the men's programs at Long Beach State, Southwestern Louisiana, Minnesota and Nevada-Las Vegas in recent years, the women's practices seem like small concerns. But as an omen of the direction in which the women's game is headed, these practices hardly support the AIAW's official position that its game is essentially pure and that self-policing makes sense.
While researching this story SPORTS ILLUSTRATED representatives interviewed coaches and athletic administrators in 27 states and received many reports of rules violations. More than three-fourths of those surveyed said self-policing was a farce. One of them was Chris Weller, the women's basketball coach at Maryland. "The AIAW is playing ostrich," she says. "It won't make rules with teeth in them because that would be an admission that certain things are going on that the AIAW claims never happen."
Not only does the E & E Committee almost never put anybody on probation, but when it does, it also keeps the probation secret. There is little deterrent value in that, and so Jeanne Rowlands, head of the Eastern Region's E & E Committee, soon will ask her regional board to recommend publication of violators' names. That way schools not on probation can refuse to schedule schools that are. "There is an extraordinary amount of smoke," says Rowlands. "I'm unable to make an intelligent judgment about how much fire there really is. But we're not going to run around the country policing everybody. Otherwise, we'd have to create an incredible bureaucracy."
"I'm glad the AIAW doesn't have enough problems to have a real enforcement committee," says USC's Perry with a pound of sarcasm. "The NCAA didn't back in 1929, either."
That was the year the Carnegie Report was published, acknowledging that college athletics was rife with abuses that needed cleaning up. But it wasn't until 1952 that the NCAA found that efforts to enforce rules without a police force were a waste of time. That year it empowered a subcommittee to process cases of rules violations.