College football coaches believe nearly one in three of the nation's top football programs commit serious rules violations, a survey conducted by a group of criminologists at the University of Cincinnati says.

Of the 192 head football coaches at Division I-A and I-AA college programs, 122 responded to the survey. Coaches addressed questions regarding how often they believed violations of NCAA rules occurred, causes for those infractions and possible rule reforms.

The survey reported that 31.7 percent of responding coaches believe Division I schools regularly commit serious violations and 49.6 percent believe those schools have sinned in the last five years. Still, 73.3 percent of the coaches said nearly all or most Division I coaches are "very honest and have high ethical standards."

Most coaches, 67.2 percent, said an excessive emphasis on winning creates cheating. Revision of the NCAA's existing rules was "strongly" backed by 59.1 percent of the coaches . . .

Jack Bicknell of Boston College denied reports that he is the favorite to succeed Earle Bruce as football coach at Ohio State, saying he has not been contacted by OSU.

The Columbus Dispatch reported sources had said that Bicknell is the front-runner to take over for Bruce, fired Nov. 16. According to one source, the announcement of Bicknell could come as soon as Friday . . .

Adams State (Colo.) College Coach Joe Vigil has denied he made discriminatory comments attributed to him that have prompted a review of his appointment as 1988 U.S. Olympic assistant track and field coach. Vigil was quoted in San Francisco-based City Sports magazine as saying, "Minorities don't want to pay the price to be long-distance runners. They're not engrained with the work ethic it takes to be a long-distance runner. Being a sprinter is the easy way out. Being a road racer is a lonely job with lots of hard training and a Spartan existence. These people don't want to work hard at anything."

Vigil, a Hispanic, told the Denver Post he was "shocked that they wrote the article the way they did. I, of course, told them about minorities who have succeeded. All runners who succeed pay the price. They made it sound like all minorities aren't willing to pay the price, and that's not the case at all" . . .

The University of Maryland's field hockey team, which won the NCAA title last month, was honored by President Reagan at the White House during a 15-minute reception.

"I kissed him. I think he liked it," Terrapins player Carolyn Muller said. "He told us some Knute Rockne stories."

Maryland defeated North Carolina, 2-1, on Kim Turner's overtime goal on Nov. 15.