Howard University is significantly upgrading its basketball schedule and, for the first time, will play a full-fledged Division I schedule next season. The top teams on next year's schedule are UNC-Charlotte, Wisconsin and Illinois State.

For the following season, the Bison are adding Detroit and San Jose State.

It is a major breakthrough for Howard, which still has not made any inroads into scheduling the area's Division I teams, Catholic U., the only major area school to play Howard, is dropping the Bison after next season.

Except for UNC-Charlotte and Detroit, Coach A. B. Williamson told The Washington Post that all the series involve home-and-home arrangements.

Next season, Howard will play in tournaments sponsored by Fairfield and Iona, in addition to single games against UNCC, Illinois State, Wisconsin, Colgate, Buffalo, Campbell and Robert Morris.

With the Bison's 12-game Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference double round-robin competition, that will leave Howard with no more than two games against Division II teams. Howards played nine Division II opponents this season.

Williamson said that Howard will continue to play all its home games at the 3,200-seat Burr Gym on campus. He said he would like to schedule future games at Capital Centre, but only against name opponents likely to draw 8,000 fans or more.

In his third year at Howard, Williamson has built a solid foundation. He was 18-10 last season and was 14-5 at game time yesterday.

Whether Williamson can maintain that high a won-lost record against a higher calibre of competition will be watched closely, especially by the schools who now refuse to play his team locally. His success will depend on recruiting, and recruiting starts at home, where Williamson has yet to land a true blue chipper in three seasons at Howard.