Catholic University is "fairly close" to a decision on whether to cut back its athletic program because of financial problems, a spokesperson for the president said yesterday.

Under consideration are several alternatives, including pulling out of Division I competition in the National Collegiate Athletic Association and entering Division III, said Sue Nelson, director of public relations.

In Division I, full scholarships and room and board are granted on the basis of athletic ability. Division III regulations provide aid to athletes on the basis of financial need and academic standing only.

Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino, CU president, was not available for comment.

Nelson said the university has "strict financial limitations and that the board of trustees asked for a review of all programs, including athletics, as to what they cost and what they contribute to the excellence" of the institution.

"We have examined three or four alternatives with regard to athletics," Nelson said. Among the alternatives, Nelson cited the proposed switch from Division I to Division III continuing in Division I and "a new emphasis on some sports and de-emphasis of others."

Nelson said Pellegrino has made no comment on the possible effect of the cutback on the future status of the university's only two full-time coaches, the head basketball coach, Jack Kvancz, and his assistant, Ed McNamara. Kvancz also is the athletic director.