University of Houston officials say center Tito Horford will join them in making a personal appeal to the NCAA to enable Horford to play for the Cougars' basketball team.

Houston faculty athletic representative Michael Johnson said Horford and school officials will appear before the eligibility subcommittee of the NCAA during its Jan. 10-15 conference in New Orleans.

"If we appeal, we want the best opportunity," Johnson said. "And we feel in-person is far better than over the telephone."

The NCAA ruled Aug. 12 that Horford could not play at Houston because of recruiting violations at the school. He has been in Washington recently, reportedly because a friend from his native Dominican Republic plays for American University.

Horford enrolled at LSU for the fall term and planned to play on the school's basketball team, but Coach Dale Brown dismissed him Nov. 3, saying Horford missed practice . . .

Dartmouth lawyers said the school will seek a vote of the school's Athletic Council over the firing of football coach Joe Yukica, who has been ordered reinstated by a superior court judge who ruled that Yukica's contract entitles him to the protection of a decision by the council.

Thomas Rath, a lawyer for the college, said the judge's decision allows the college to ask for a dismissal of Yukica's suit should the council vote to fire the coach. "The court has basically delineated a procedural step which we will follow in a very timely manner," Rath said.

David Nixon, Yukica's lawyer, said the council's decision would be irrelevant because the coach's contract also provides for 12 months' notice of termination. Yukica's suit seeks reinstatement until his contract expires in June 1987 . . .

Mike Gatt completed a 58-yard touchdown pass to Scott Sugg with 3:04 to play to give Hillsdale College of Michigan a 10-10 tie with the University of Central Arkansas in the NAIA Champion Bowl in Conway, Ark. Since there are no provisions to settle a tie in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Central Arkansas (10-2-1) and Hillsdale (11-1-1) are co-champions . . .

Ohio State University assistant Jim Tressel was named head football coach at Youngstown State. Tressel, 33, who coached quarterbacks and receivers for three years at Ohio State, was hired to replace Bill Narduzzi, who coached the Penguins for 11 years. Narduzzi's contract was not renewed after the team went 5-6.