Michael Irvin patted President Reagan on the shoulder, and Tolbert Bain asked about his dog Rex. Those were the highlights of the Miami Hurricanes' visit to the White House yesterday in honor of their college football national championship victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

The 22 Hurricanes starters crowded into the East Room, where Coach Jimmy Johnson presented Reagan with a Hurricanes jersey and Athletic Director Sam Jankovich handed him a football signed by the team.

Reagan saluted the Hurricanes in a brief speech, during which he quoted Knute Rockne. He also singled out some of the Hurricanes for their Orange Bowl performances, including Greg Cox, for his bowl-record 56-yard field goal, and Irvin, who caught a touchdown pass.

"If I could just kick some of those spending bills, I'd set a few field goal records myself," Reagan said . . .

During last night's Maryland football banquet, running back Richard Shure received the George B. Outselis Memorial Award given to the letterman with the highest grade-point average. Maryland President John Toll presented the distinguished alumnus award to Dick Shiner, a Terrapins quarterback who was an all-America in 1962 and played 11 years in the NFL.

The Terrapin Club award for greatest career contribution went to senior tight end Ferrell Edmunds; defensive tackle Robert Klein and outside linebacker Sean Scott were co-recipients of the unsung hero award. Co-captains Bill Hughes (offense) and Bob Arnold (defense) received the best lineman awards. Other honorees were inside linebacker Kevin Walker (most valuable senior), linebacker Scott Whittier (special teams), Darryl Wright (kicker), running back Bren Lowery (offensive back) and safety Chad Sydnor (defensive back).

Terrapins named to the Atlantic Coast Conference all-academic team -- Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof, Ken Oberle, John Sorna, Arnold and Shure -- also were honored . . .

James Madison basketball coach John Thurston resigned after the school, citing concern over the image of its basketball program, said his contract would not be renewed.

A school spokesman said Thurston, whose resignation was effective immediately, will be replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Tom McCorry. School President Ronald E. Carrier, in a prepared statement, did not detail the concerns about the program. He said actions and statements made by the coach this week made "it clear that further contractual negotiation would not be useful." . . .

An NCAA official refused comment on a report that at least 20 possible NCAA rules violations have been uncovered in a joint investigation of the University of Minnesota men's athletic program.

Citing anonymous sources, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that most of the alleged violations took place between 1984 and 1986, during Jim Dutcher's final two seasons as basketball coach.