South Carolina's football program escaped sanctions yesterday as the NCAA announced it found no serious rule violations resulting from a steroid scandal that led to prison terms for three former assistant coaches.

However, the NCAA extended by six months the two-year probation for the men's basketball program. The probation now will run until February 1991.

The NCAA said it wanted to review the 1990 fall semster results of a 17-point monitoring and compliance program instituted after the probation.

The decision on the football program lifted a cloud that has hung over the school for some two years since an article in Sports Illustrated by a former Gamecocks player alleged that steroid use was widespread.

The NCAA said changes in athletic department personnel "frustrated the university's good intentions" to fully implement the department's monitoring and compliance program.

The NCAA said the school failed to adhere to its lifestyles drug testing program for athletes from 1985 to 1987. An in-house task force also reached tht same conclusion, which led to the firing of Athletic Director Bob Marcum in March 1988. . . .

Former Florida basketball coach Norm Sloan said the school's response to allegations he violated NCAA rules before officials forced him to retire was vindictive and "totally uncalled for."

The university this week released an 1,100-page report responding to infractions discovered during a 15-month investigation of the Gators' football and basketball programs.

The report said nine of the 10 allegations cited by the NCAA were accurate, but disputed the NCAA's contention that the violations occurring between 1985 and 1988 demonstrated a lack of institutional control.

The university argued in its report that forcing Sloan and football coach Galen Hall to leave reflected its commitment to compliance.

"It was a short, bitter retirement," Sloan said. "Now I can put this whole rotten, stinking Florida mess behind me. Florida was more vindictive {in its response} than I thought it would be. Everything I was charged with went through {Florida's} business office and was cleared by the university.

"I never intentionally did anything wrong. Their response is totally uncalled for. It makes me angrier than anything else that has happened up there."