Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah, the top-ranked hurdler in the world, said yesterday that he is thinking of dropping out of the University of Maryland next semester.

Asked if he might leave school because of health problems, which have plagued him since last summer, Nehemiah, a junior at Maryland, said in New York, "It's a possibility."

"I've been struggling with illnesses since the summer," the Associated Press quoted Nehemiah as saying during a press conference held to promote next month's U.S. Olympic Invitational at Madison Square Garden.

"First, I had a virus, which was prolonged because I was traveling through Europe . . . Now I have bronchitis and asthma and I can't run for the next two weeks."

Nehemiah, 20, is the world record-holder in the 110-meter hurdles and holds several indoor marks as well. The AP also reported that Nehemiah said he had discussed the possibility of leaving school with Frank Costello, the Terrapin track coach.

Last night, Costello said that he and Nehemiah had not discussed his leaving Maryland. "Skeets has been sick and he isn't going to run for a while," Costello said. "But we've never discussed his leaving school.

"We talked about his health situation and we're going to play that by ear. But I'm sure he'll be in school next semester."

Nehemiah won the gold medal in the Pan American Games in the hurdles last summer and is the odds-on favorite for the event at the Olympics in Moscow next summer.

Earlier this fall he announced he would limit his indoor appearances this winter in order to save his strength for the outdoor season. Nehemiah tentatively is scheduled to compete in seven indoor meets, four of them invitational, three of them collegiate, including the NCAA indoor championships and the ACC indoor meet.

Maryland currently is on semester break and Nehemiah is home in Scotch Plains, N.J., visiting his parents. He could not be reached for further comment last night.