Washington Federals President Jim Gould resigned yesterday and announced that he would become executive vice president of John F. Bassett Enterprises Inc. Bassett, owner of the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits, is active in numerous real-estate and motion picture ventures.

In a prepared statement accepting the resignation, Federals owner Berl Bernhard said he would assume executive control of the team and would not replace Gould "for the indefinite future." Rick Hindin, owner of Britches clothing stores and a general partner in the Federals, will assist Bernhard in marketing and promotional decisions.

Bernhard refused to comment on whether he had asked for Gould's resignation, saying he would elaborate at a press conference today. Bernhard also said he would not be making immediate decisions on the futures of Coach Ray Jauch and General Manager Dick Myers.

"Right now we're working on the restructuring of our organization," Bernhard said. "I don't want to say anything now. We'll just let things unfold."

Myers refused to comment and Jauch said Gould's departure would not affect the team or his own situation significantly.

"Jim was mainly involved with the downtown (executive) operation," Jauch said. "He was always basically pretty supportive of what we were trying to do. I want to wish him all the best."

Gould, 33, who serves on many USFL committees with Bassett, has been closely allied with the Bandits owner from the league's inception. Before the season, Gould said he viewed the USFL as an "entertainment package . . . a grand motion picture," and with Bassett he will work not only with the Bandits but with all aspects of the corporation.

Gould said he did not know yet his specific duties with the Bandits, but said he would be concerned with marketing and promotion in general.

Gould has often acknowledged that he is a kind of development wildcatter, moving from one job to the next. Before coming to the Federals, he worked on real estate projects for Marvin Warner, a former ambassador to Switzerland and owner of the Birmingham Stallions.

The Federals (1-11) are preparing for Sunday's game against Herschel Walker and the New Jersey Generals. After yesterday's practice, most players either refused to comment on Gould or said they knew little of the situation.

"Who's the president of this team? What's his name? I don't even think most people know who he is," said running back Billy Taylor.

Quarterback Mike Hohensee said, "I don't think it'll affect the players. Maybe it'll affect the front office people but I don't really know."

"Personally I'm close with the coaching staff and Berl, but I really don't know him (Gould)," said wide receiver Vince Kinney. "It'll be interesting to see what's going to happen."

Running back Craig James is one of the few players who knows Gould well. He said, "There are rumors that he (Gould) was fired, but I don't know. With all the things that have gone on with us losing, you never know. I heard that there would be a lot of changes and I guess this is the first."

James also said he was displeased with Gould's recent statement that, unless the rookie running back improved next season, his $2 million contract would be a "mistake."

James said, "His little comment about me showed a lot of nonclass on his part. He drafted me. He paid me all that money. If it was a mistake, it was his mistake. But I'll tell you this, I know I would have been a first-round draft choice in the NFL. I know I can play."