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In an attempt to prevent the NCAA from continuing to offer championship competition for women, the AIAW six weeks ago filed an anti-trust suit alleging that the NCAA has attempted to monopolize women's athletics.
Marilee Dean Baker, president-elect of the AIAW and director of athletics at Princeton, told The Crimson yesterday that if Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., rules in favour of the NCAA, AIAW officials will be forced to dissolve their organization because of its inability to compete financially with the NCAA.
Margot Pollivy, general counsel to the AIAW, said yesterday that the organization decided to file the suit "because the NCAA is using resources they've gained through men's athletics to attempt to monopolize women's athletics," and because the NCAA decision to offer women's championships has resulted in the dimunition of AIAW membership and could eventually force the AIAW "out of the market."
Unlike the AIAW, the NCAA pays travel expenses for teams attending its national championships and Baker said that "the NCAA is using unfair practices to put us out of business because their resources allow them to offer benefits that the AIAW cannot afford to offer."
But William D. Kramer, attorney to the NCAA, said yesterday that the AIAW is "attempting to use anti-trust laws to preclude competition from anyone," and he added, "the NCAA is merely better equipped to govern women's athletics; they are not violating the law."
The NCAA decided to sponsor women's championships in January 1981, and since then, Baker said, the AIAW has suffered severe damages.
Baker estimated that the AIAW has lost nearly 20 per cent of its membership and added that a lot of Division 1 schools have opted to send their teams--including 16 of the country's top 20 basketball squads--to NCAA championships.
He said that NBC, which has a television contract with the AIAW, has decided not to air any of the fall AIAW national championships it owns the rights to, and that a lot of the people who worked with the AIAW in the past are now members of NCAA committees.
"I don't think we can afford to co-exist with the NCAA," Baker said, adding, "If we do not prevail in the suit, I don't see how we will survive economically. If we do dissolve, it will be because the court made the decision for us."
In addition to filing the anti-trust suit, the AIAW asked Federal District Court Judge Charles Richey to issue a preliminary injunction prohibiting the NCAA, which has already offered six fall season championships, from sponsoring any more women's events until the conclusion of the anti-trust case. Richey has not yet responded to the AIAW's request for the injunction, and officials from both organizations said yesterday they do not know when he will announce his decision.
AIAW officials said that if Richey issues the injunction, they will allow teams that originally planned to attend NCAA championship events to compete in AIAW championships.
Pollivy said she expects Richey to grant the injunction because "Quite clearly, the AIAW needs relief [from the damages incurred as a result of the NCAA decision] before April." She added that Richey has set an "extremely fast schedule" for the case, and officials from both organizations said they expect Richey to expedite matters.
"The judge realizes that if the case lastsa long time, the AIAW may not be around for the decision," Baker said.
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