Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah, world-record holder in the 110-meter high hurdles, has signed an endorsement contract with the Puma shoe company and is expected to lend his name to a Puma store in Northern Virginia this fall.

Nehemiah reportedly will receive $50,000.

The Maryland junior, who dropped off the Terrapin track team last week, will still be eligible to compete for the D.C. International Track Club under AAU rules. He would not be eligible for NCAA events if he chose to return to the Maryland team.

Nehemiah said Monday that he will return to the University in the fall without a track scholarship and will pay his way through school. The Puma contract is apparently his means of payment.

Meantime, the Maryland track program continued to be embroiled in controversy. Part-time assistant coaches Maurice Peoples and Fred Sowerby, D.C. International colleagues with whom Nehemiah is training, have been relieved of their university duties by Coach Frank Costello, reportedly in a dispute concerning Nehemiah.

Costello has not been at practice all week, and reportedly will not be at this weekend's Penn Relays. "Stan Pitts (assistant coach) has been running practice all week," Athletic Director Carl James said last night. "We think the track program is in fine hands."