University of Maryland Chancellor John B. Slaughter said yesterday the hiring of black coaches and athletic administrators will not improve until the nation's colleges and universities make progress in hiring minorities at all levels of higher education.

"I generally agree that, if we offered letter grades to higher education, higher education would deserve an F in terms of what it has done to improve the place for blacks, Mexican-Americans and American Indians in places of responsibility," said Slaughter, chairman of the reform-minded NCAA Presidents Commission, during a session on the NCAA at the 70th annual meeting of the American Counsel on Education at a downtown hotel.

"It's not likely in my opinion that we're going to make a significant amount of progress in the area of coaching positions and administrative positions in intercollegiate athletics unless higher education addresses the more significant problem of the lack of presence of minorities at all levels of high education."

He said less than 2 percent of faculty members across the country are black, and less than 7 percent of all administrators.

He and Dick Schultz, the NCAA's new executive director, were at the session to describe efforts being made by the NCAA and the President's Commission to bring about reforms within the NCAA. The question about hiring black coaches and administrators came from the audience during a question-and-answer period in which Schultz outlined his program "to establish a model of excellence when it comes to affirmative action."

He said that, because the NCAA, like the ACE, is an association, it "cannot mandate to the members what their hiring practices should be." He said the NCAA program would include making its members more aware of the program, awarding grants for minorities and women to pursue graduate degrees in athletic administration, beginning an intern program at NCAA headquarters for minorities, and providing seminars and other help for minority assistant coaches to improve their marketability.

"I feel more confident that the NCAA . . . will take a more positive stance than some of the member institutions themselves will," Slaughter said. "I'm somewhat dismayed when I come to realize the NCAA, really, is made up of all those member universities, and the universities have not demonstrated a great deal of success in the lot of minorities.

"It's very clear from the events of the past few days and the remarks of Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder {who was fired by CBS Saturday after making inflammatory racial remarks} sure point the level of understanding of many people associated with athletics of race and the place and opportunities that exist for minority to participate more fully in the athletic enterprise."

In their addresses on the prospect for the NCAA's future, both Schultz and Slaughter followed closely presentations they made last week at the NCAA convention in Nashville. ACE President Robert Atwell, who introduced the speakers, noted that this is the first ACE convention at which the NCAA executive director has participated.

Before his talk, Schultz defended the NCAA Division I membership for rejecting -- after earlier on the agenda approving -- adoption of a national eligibility standard.