The Washington Bullets will have a new radio play-by-play announcer next season when the team switches from WTOP-1500 to WWDC-1260. Charlie Slowes, a 25-year-old sportscaster from St. Louis, will join WWDC in mid-September, replacing Frank Daly, who handled the team's play-by-play the last three years.

"We had 105 applicants for the job," said Goff Lebhar, president and general manager for WWDC. "If I couldn't have found someone who significantly upgraded the play-by-play, we would not have changed. This guy is terrific. No cliches. He stays with the play, he doesn't play catch-up and he is not a clone of anybody else. Yes, he's 25, but I don't think when someone listens to the radio they'll care about how old he is."

Slowes does baseball play-by-play for the Tidewater Tides, the New York Mets' AAA affiliate. He has been working at KMOX radio in St. Louis since 1984, where he served as that station's sports anchor, hosted a talk show, produced sports events and did play-by-play for St. Louis University basketball. Lebhar said a decision would be made on whether Slowes will do anything other than play-by-play for WWDC . . .

A poll commissioned by Sports Illustrated shows that 86 percent of the U.S. public believes professional athletes use illegal drugs, and nearly three of four of the respondents favor compulsory drug testing. The poll, conducted last November and December by Lieberman Research, Inc., questioned 2,043 adults on a variety of issues.

On the subject of drugs, 62 percent of those questioned perceived pro football to have the most serious problem, with baseball second at 54 percent and pro basketball third (29 percent). Of those polled 73 percent favored drug testing; 14 percent opposed it.

On other subjects, the poll found seven of 10 Americans think baseball players are overpaid, although pollees grossly underestimated average salaries for all sports. And while seven of 10 think too many events are broadcast, most watch nearly seven hours of sports on television each week.

The poll found fans estimating the average baseball salary at $219,000, well below the $371,000 average reported by the Major League Players Association. Estimates were low in the other major team sports as well -- $191,000 to $234,000 in pro football; $226,000 to $340,000 in pro basketball; and $137,000 to $152,000 in hockey.

Baseball edged pro football as the best television attraction, 75 percent to 72 percent. The most overtelevised sport, according to the poll, is pro wrestling with 31 percent saying they could get along with less of it on TV. HOCKEY

The Detroit Red Wings fired Coach Brad Park after the club finished last in the NHL's 1985-86 season at 17-57-6 (a team record for defeats). Detroit General Manager Jimmy Devellano also relieved Park of his job as director of player personnel.

"We were like oil and water, which don't mix," Devellano said. "We weren't on the same wavelength on the way a hockey club should be run."

Park, 37, replaced Harry Neale as coach Dec. 29, 1985, after Neale led the Red Wings to an 8-23-4 record in his first season. But Park fared worse, directing Detroit to an 8-29-2 mark while missing six games because of a league-imposed suspension. COLLEGES

A Big Ten Conference representative will ask the NCAA Presidents Commission later this year to change its rules to make freshmen ineligible for Division I football and men's basketball.

The Big Ten officials, who wrapped up a two-day conference at Indiana University Monday, agreed to ask for the rule change. Ohio State University President Edward Jennings, who represents the conference on the NCAA commission, will offer the proposal at the commission's next meeting in December. The presidents also said they would pursue the issue with other conferences if the NCAA refuses to declare freshmen ineligible in all of the nation's Division I conferences. Indiana University President John Ryan said if the effort fails, the Big Ten will consider unilaterally banning freshmen from playing . . .

In Los Angeles, Rod Dedeaux, the winningest coach in college baseball history, is leaving his position at University of Southern California. Dedeaux, 71, who coached the Trojans for 45 years and had a career record of 1,332-571-11, will be succeeded by Mike Gillespie, 46, who coached College of the Canyons in nearby Valencia to the California Community College title this spring.

Dedeaux will continue to be involved with the USC program, serving as director of baseball. HORSE SHOW

Danny Robertshaw of Camden, S.C., won six ribbons, including the championship, on Arc de Triomphe in a schooling working hunter division of the Upperville (Va.) Colt and Horse Show that opened yesterday.

The qualifying rounds, which will be held through Saturday, will determine which entries will participate in the prestigious fall indoor shows in Harrisburg, Pa., the Washington International and the National Horse Show in New York. BASEBALL

In the latest chapter on former ace major league pitcher Mike Norris, the onetime Oakland A's star is to return to the San Jose Bees, last in the Northern Division of the Class A California League.

The Bees (21-30) announced Monday they would re-sign Norris, 31, who was released April 18. First signed in March, Norris failed to show up for a game on the second day of spring training. Earlier, he had been arrested on charges of cocaine possession and driving under the influence. He will be subject to random drug testing at San Jose.

Norris was quoted as saying he's returning to the Bees because he is "a forgiving soul" and it "beats what I was doing [playing shortstop on a softball team]." FOOTBALL

The Green Bay Packers earned $2,029,154 from their football operations in 1985, compared with $1,510,188 the year before, the NFL team disclosed at its annual stockholders' meeting in Green Bay, Wis.

"We had a good financial year and, while the bottom line and top priority is to win football games, we must continue to strengthen our financial reserve," said Robert Parins, the team's president. "It is the only source the Packers have to assure the stability of the franchise." . . .

Rich Diana, who gave up a career with the Miami Dolphins for medical school, says he is thinking about becoming a professional player again. "It's more of a timing type of thing," Diana told the New Haven (Conn.) Journal-Courier Monday. "It's the last time in my life I can play anymore."

Diana says he intends to become a surgeon, but his next year of medical school at Yale, his fourth, is an elective one and he has some free time for training. In recent months Diana has been running and lifting weights at Yale while his agent, Tom Toner, has contacted several NFL teams about tryouts, the newspaper said.

Diana, second among Yale's all-time rushing leaders, played one season and in the 1983 Super Bowl for the Dolphins, mostly as a receiver. JURISPRUDENCE

Lindel Hutson, an Indianapolis Associated Press news editor, pleaded innocent to misdemeanor charges stemming from his arrest while attempting to enter Indianapolis Motor Speedway to cover the Indianapolis 500. A trial date was set for Aug. 14 in municipal court.

Hutson was arrested May 25 as he tried to enter the Speedway to cover the race, which was postponed because of rain. Police say that Hutson disregarded police instructions and that his car struck a police officer.