The New Orleans Saints have asked the National Football League for permission to talk to former Oakland and Houston quarterback Kenny Stabler.

Jim Heffernan, NFL public relations director, confirmed that Saints officials asked and got permission to talk to Stabler, who would replace second-year pro Dave Wilson, out for the year following knee surgery earlier this week.

Speculation on Wilson's replacement centered around Stabler and Dan Pastorini, two veteran quarterbacks who played for Saints Coach Bum Phillips when he was at Houston. Stabler, 36, did not report to the Oilers' training camp this year and is in limbo because of alleged relationships with known gamblers.

The World Boxing Council announced today its three top contenders will battle for the featherweight crown left vacant when Salvador Sanchez, 23, was killed in an automobile accident last week in Mexico.

Mario Miranda of Columbia is rated as the No. 1 contender in the division with Americans Ruben Castillo and Juan Laporte ranked second and third. WBC President Jose Sulaiman said the WBC's executive council was overwhelmingly in favor of the tournament . . . A tough, body-punching Walter Santamore won a unanimous decision over heavyweight Earnie Shavers in a 10-round bout at Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette, La. Santamore, who improved his record to 19-7-1, went to the body early in the fight. By the fifth round, Shavers was visibly tiring. Santamore dominated the last rounds.

Bob Dailey, the Philadelphia Flyers all-star defenseman, will announce his retirement next week, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Baltimore wide receiver Roger Carr reported to training camp amid rumors that he will be traded to the Raiders. Carr, 30, was suspended July 27 for "conduct detrimental to the club," after repeatedly criticizing the Colts' organization and demanding to be traded . . .Georgia tailback Hershel Walker was allowed to return to practice after recovering from a 1 1/2 week bout with high blood pressure and headaches . . . Mike Livingston, a Kansas City Chiefs quarterback for the past 11 years, was signed by the Boston franchise of the United States Football League . . . John Koontz, the 1981 Virginia state high school player of the year who rushed for 1,600 yards at Petersburg, has left West Virginia University's football camp after just one day. "I really don't know whether I want to play football anymore," he said. "It's something that's been bugging me for a long time". . .

Washington-area college basketball goes to the Meadowlands this winter when four men's teams and one women's squad play regular-season games in the Brendan Byrne Arena. On Dec. 2, George Washington meets St. Peter's at 7. On Feb. 20, Virginia's women face Rutgers at 1:30, followed by the Virginia-Missouri clash at 3:45. On Feb. 26, American plays Fairfield at 7 and Georgetown meets Seton Hall at 9 . . .

Marty West of Columbia Country Club shot 71-72 -- 143 in sectional play yesterday at Indian Spring to become the medalist qualifier for the USGA Amateur championships which will begin Aug. 31, in Brookline, Mass.

Other qualifiers from the Baltimore-Washington area include Terry Burke (Congressional), Webb Heintzelman (Washingtonian), Kevin O'Rourke (Bethesda), Greg Carpousis (Army Navy), Jim Estes (Bethesda) and Brian Lehnhard (Evergreen).

Donna Fleming and Travis Gillespie of Prince George's County have advanced to the Aug. 31 semifinals of National Junior Tennis League Championships in New York.

Mark Lee, a pitcher for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League who was told Monday that he was no longer wanted, expressed his feelings about his firing during Portland's 8-3 victory over the Vancouver Canadians. After striking out Bob Skube of Vancouver, Lee called manager Tom Trebelhorn to the mound and then walked towards the Portland Civic Stadium exit down the right field line. As he made his departure, Lee first threw the ball back to the infield, then his cap and finally he took his uniform top off and threw it high in the air. "I chose the way I wanted to go out," said Lee.