The University of Minnesota has received permission from Maryland to speak to football Coach Bobby Ross about its head coaching job, a Maryland official said.

The official said that Paul Giel, Minnesota's athletic director, had received such permission Monday from Dick Dull, Maryland's athletic director. However, published reports in both Baltimore and Minneapolis said Ross met with Giel and a prominent Minnesota booster on Sunday in Baltimore. The St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch said they met Monday in Minneapolis.

Ross, Giel and Dull were unavailable for comment yesterday.

A source in the Maryland athletic department said Ross expects to make a decision by Friday whether or not to stay at Maryland, and that decision does not necessarily depend on the Minnesota job. "Bobby's concerned about the negative press, and he doesn't want to go through a week of speculation," the source said. "(The decision is) more or less if he's going to stay at Maryland or go elsewhere, not specifically Minnesota."

Minnesota announced yesterday that outgoing coach Lou Holtz, who has accepted the Notre Dame job, will not coach the Gophers in the Independence Bowl against Clemson.

Ross, coach at Maryland for the past four seasons, was prominently mentioned for the Minnesota job two years ago before he withdrew his name from consideration.

Ross has been negotiating with Maryland officials for a 10-year contract for more than a year. A year ago, Ross and Dull apparently had agreed to a similar 10-year deal after Ross withdrew his name from consideration for the coaching vacancy at the University of Missouri.

But Ross, concerned about Maryland's commitment to improving its stadium and also concerned about better communications with the admissions department, opted for a one-year contract instead.