with the January, 1978 Convention, various member institutions began offering measures to enable the NCAA to accommodate women's championships, motivated, in part, by the apprehensions of some that a failure to do so might be regarded as illegal discrimination. A proposal to initiate women's championships in Division II was defeated in January, 1978, however, and in February a canvass of the general membership as to whether NCAA should undertake women's championship programs at all produced an essentially negative response. The following January a similar proposal for women's championships in Division III was rejected.
In October, 1979, the NCAA's governing board, the Council, authorized the appointment of a Special Committee on NCAA Governance, Organization and Services (the "Governance Committee"), directing it to "examine and make recommendations" with respect to the "accommodation" of women's interests within the NCAA. Before the Governance Committee had fairly begun, however, at the 1980 Convention the members of both Divisions II and III reconsidered and approved proposals sponsored by various individual institutions to establish NCAA championships for women in five sports in each division beginning in 1981-82.
In late January and again in June, 1980, the Governance Committee sent the membership reports of its progress and preliminary conclusions, and solicited comment. Then in July, 1980, it held two regional meetings, one in Pittsburgh, another in Denver, to review its work to date. Altogether some 484 institutional representatives attended the meetings, among them AIAW leaders who were outspoken in opposition to the committee's tentative governance proposals for women's programs. In September the NCAA sponsored a meeting attended by 27 chief executive officers of Division I member institutions to discuss the Governance Committee's work.
In the meantime officers of the AIAW were drafting their own legislative proposals to be presented at the 1981 NCAA Convention to rescind, or at least delay, the Division II and Division III women's championships approved the year before, and the AIAW distributed position papers and otherwise lobbied NCAA member institutions to urge enactment of its own proposals and the defeat of other proposals which might be put forth from any quarter to offer additional NCAA championships for women.
When the Convention opened in Miami on January 12th AIAW partisans were present in force to address the Convention in opposition to the whole concept of NCAA championships for women. Despite an intense AIAW effort, the NCAA membership rejected the proposals to rescind or delay the Division II and III NCAA women's championships. Then, considering separately various member-sponsored proposals, Division I voted to establish Division I championships for women in nine sports; Divisions II and III approved four and three additional women's championships in their respective divisions; and the membership-at-large voted to establish three open women's championships, all to commence in 1981-82.
The Convention also adopted the legislation put forward by the Governance Committee to implement an overall governance plan for women's athletics. These proposals, unrelated to the member-sponsored proposals for divisional championships, had been distributed to the membership in advance of the Convention and, among other things, provided for a specified minimum representation of women on the NCAA Council, the Executive Committee and certain other committees; a championship travel reimbursement plan for the women comparable to the men's; and a four-year transition period during which an institution's women's program could be conducted in accordance with either NCAA rules or any other rules it had previously followed while common rules for male and female athletes were being devised.
The governance plan did not require NCAA member institutions to participate in its women's championships. They remained free to maintain membership in, and to participate in the championships of, the AIAW or any other governance organization for women, but an NCAA institution must keep its men's program in the NCAA in order to retain eligibility for its women's programs, and all-female colleges are neither permitted to belong to the NCAA nor to participate in its women's championships.
The Effect of Competition on AIAW
In 1980-81 62 former members of AIAW, virtually all Division II and III schools, did not renew membership, and 28 of them became members of NAIA's women's division. However, AIAW gained 52 new institutional members that year; defections en masse did not begin until the following year when AIAW assayed its membership attrition as follows:
To To TO
NCAA NAIA NCAA/NAIA Neither
Division I 35 2 2 0
Division II 31 50 11 2
Division III 34 33 6 5
Undesignated 0 1 1 0
Total 100(47%) 86(40%) 20(9%) 7(3%)
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