Maryland basketball coach Lefty Driesell said in response to an inquiry yesterday that four of his eight returning players are on academic probation for failing to meet grade requirements last semester, and tht two other have been taken off probation recently.

"I'm concerned a little bit but I'm confident they're all going to pass," said Driesell, answering a reporter's question. "As far as I know they're all doing well. There are probably thousands of students on probation here. It's no big deal."

It is against university policy to reveal the names of students on probation.

Forward Lawrence Boston and center Mike Davis, the Washington Post learned, have been taken off probation, reportedly because of satisfaction grades earned in summer school. Of the four presently on probation Driesell siaaid he expects one to be cleared in a matter of days upon earning a "B" grade on a test in a course which he received an incomplete last semester.

The eight returning players are Boston. Davis, John Bilney, Bill Bryant, Larry Gibson, David Henderson, Jo Jo Hunter and Eric Shrader.

Henderson and Shrader were on the ACC honor roll last semester.

With the exception of first-semester freshmen, all students at Maryland must earn 24 quality points per semester to remain in good academic standing. The total is arrived at by multiplying the number of credits times grade points (A count 4, B counts 3 and so on). The average load is 12 or 15 credits.

If a student does not compile the required 24 points, he is placed on probation and must earn 24 points the next semester, or he is dismissed.

A student may also be placed on probation is, after completing 45 units, he has a cumulative grade point average below 1.95.

If a student is placed on probation four times, or twice in a row, that also is cause for dismissal. Athletes must meet the same requirements as other students.

Boston was placed on probation for the fall and spring semesters last year and was technically dismissed. Reportedly, there was a mixup and boston did not know he was on probation for both semesters. He was reinstated, a seam source said by making up an incomplete.

A spokesman in the university's data research center said that of 27,212 undergraduates, 2638 were placed on probation for poor grades earned last semester.

The season opens Nov. 25 at Maryland against Bucknell. The semester ends in mid December. If the players on probation do not earn 24 points, they will lose their scholarships and be dismissed from school.

Their cases can be appealed.

Driesell said that for the four presently on probation, it is the first time for each.

"It's really nobody business how a students graduate are coming along," said Driesell. "If a guy flunks out, it will be obvious."

Driesell declined to comment on whether four has the highest number of players he has had on probation at one time.

Jim Merkel, the academic adviser to the athletic department said, "I don't think it's very unusual at all. I don't get alarmed. All it menas it that he get less than 24 points, which means he might have been under stress, or he might have been injured, or he might have just been goofing around. Some athletic are constant on probation and then go on to graduate and be very sucessful.

[WORD ILLEGIBLE] director, Jim [WORD ILLEGIBLE] said he did not know of it was the highest number.

"I do view it as a matter of concern," said [WORD ILLEGIBLE] "We have had problems before, but we are capable of solving them. I'm sure some years are better than others. I'm convinced our report shows our situation has been very good, bettter than most others."