"This is a big weight off our shoulders," the University of New Mexico's president, William E. Davis, responds to the NCAA imposition of three years' probation, with no sanctions the third year given good behavior. "The NCAA officials said the probation should not affect our hosting the 1983 (national basketball) finals."

Whether the 1982 West Regional is lost to Albuquerque remains undecided, but Davis and other Lobo personages seem relieved that UNM got no worse than two years off TV and out of postseason play, in view of the admitted transgressions in its basketball program. Athletic Director John Bridgers, brought in after the scandals broke, ventures that the quick reorganization begun last December may have influenced the NCAA decision not to reduce the number of scholarships available for UNM basketball. And the new basketball coach, Gary Colson, exuberates about recruiting:

"We can tell a high school player that if he comes to . . . New Mexico, he will be eligible to play in postseason competition his sophomore year."

Organizers of Los Angeles' 1984 Olympics, committed to pulling it off without deficit or government aid (?), have landed a big corporate sponsor: Atlantic Richfield, agreeing to spend $9 million or more to refurbish the Coliseum, install a world-class track, and build six training tracks at other sites around the city. Earlier, McDonald's agreed to build a swim stadium at USC and Southland Corp. to put up a velodrome . . .

Vincent J. Bartimo, who presides over the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins and the Louisiana Downs thoroughbred track for Edward J. DeBartolo, threw out yesterday a bitter accusation that Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn is fighting American League approval of DeBartolo's purchase of the Chicago White Sox because of ethnic prejudice. No way, replies Kuhn.

Said Bartimo: "I don't know of any Italian (-American) who's been successful and made some money that somebody in some segments of his society won't say, 'He's in the Mafia.'" Declared Kuhn in a one-sentence answer to Bartimo's charge of bias: "The statement is contemptible, irresponsible and false" . . .

Sure, the Rev. Donn Moomaw, President-elect Ronald Reagan's pastor at United Presbyterian Church in Bel-Air, suburban L.A., who will give both invocation and benediction at the inauguration, is the very Moomaw who made all-America as a UCLA linebacker in 1952 . . . Robert L. Heinbaugh, Maryland baseball'52, seems to be doing a first-class job as chairman of the 30th annual M Club sports awards banquet, set Saturday at the Center of Adult Education on campus.

Do the Toronto Maple Leafs miss Mike Palmateer? Enough to acquire veteran netminder Jimmy Rutherford from Detroit.