While deposed LSU women’s basketball coach Pokey Chatman claims her recent resignation was coerced, the New York Times’ Jere Longman examines whether or not the allegations against Chatman might portend further ugliness in the recruiting wars.

Coaches and administrators disagree on how widespread the role of suspected lesbianism plays in pitting one university against another, but many agree the practice exists in a manner that can be subtle and overt.

Wes Moore, the coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga, said that he considered women™s college basketball as œfamily entertainment that should uphold œfamily values.

At some universities, media guides portray female players both in their uniforms and in dress clothes, implying they can be both athletic and feminine.

Sometimes, coaches say, sexual orientation becomes a blunt tool in recruiting, with a rival coach saying to a prospective player or her parents: œYou don™t want to go to this school because the coach is a lesbian or there are lesbians on the team.

A coach who is described as being a lesbian becomes almost defenseless in confronting such claims, left with the choice of denying it or saying, œI am but I won™t bother your daughter, said Linda Carpenter, emeritus professor of physical education at Brooklyn College who has studied the participation of women in sports for three decades.

œIt gives fodder to people looking for a reason to carve out an area where women need not apply, Carpenter said.

Yet, negative recruiting carries the risk of backfiring, said Geno Auriemma, who has won five national titles coaching at Connecticut.

œWhat if the kid you™re recruiting is gay and you don™t know it? Auriemma said. œYou bring the topic up and the kid says, ˜I™m not playing for this guy; this guy™s got problems.™ 

He added, œCoaches who do care about that stuff lose.

T. Valentine was unavailable for comment.