The coaches of West Virginia and five other schools have discussed the formation of a football-only league that would leave their basketball teams in the Big East and Atlantic 10.

"We lost a crown jewel when Penn State joined the Big Ten," West Virginia football Coach Don Nehlen said after a conference call. "But we've got a crown jewel back with Miami's move to the Big East. If Eastern schools don't stick together, it will make it tough on us."

The proposal would join West Virginia, Rutgers and Temple of the Atlantic 10 with Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Boston College and Miami of the Big East in a football league. The Hurricanes joined the Big East on Wednesday and will begin competing in the conference in 1991-92.

Mike Tranghese, commissioner of the Big East, and Atlantic 10 head Ron Bertovich said Thursday they would not object to a football league that includes some of their members if it did not affect their basketball conferences. . . .

Three Tennessee football players were suspended after a female student at the university alleged they sexually assaulted her at the athletes' dormitory.

Tennessee Coach Johnny Majors said the players will miss at least Saturday's homecoming game between the No. 5 Volunteers and the No. 9 Florida Gators. The suspension is indefinite, he said, and will be reviewed as an investigation of the allegation continues.

The players are starting defensive end Kacy Rodgers, 21, from Humboldt, Tenn.; second-string middle linebacker Dewayne Dotson, 19, of Hendersonville, Tenn., and seldom-used running back Keith Jeter, 19, from Weirton, W.Va.