The NCAA has arranged a plan under which a Kansas City, Mo., bank will finance as much as $2.7 million in disability insurance for elite basketball and football players with remaining college eligibility, according to Richard Schultz, executive director of the NCAA.

Under the plan introduced late last month, United Missouri Bank, at which the NCAA has some of its accounts, automatically will finance at a preferred rate an insurance premium -- once an underwriter gathers information on where an athlete is projected to go in the NBA or NFL draft and his history of injuries.

A player projected to be chosen in the first two rounds of the NFL draft or the first round of the NBA draft is eligible to buy the disability insurance. A projected top NBA pick can purchase as much as $2.7 million worth, which would cost him approximately $26,000 per season. A football player can purchase as much as $1.8 million; the premium for a defensive player will be slightly higher than for an offensive player.

The amount a basketball player can receive is higher because the NBA's salary structure is higher than the NFL's.

The player would not have to make any premium payments until he either signs his first pro contract or receives the insurance following an injury. Then the entire premium would be due.

Schultz said this is another NCAA move to try to keep agents from underclassmen. A player loses his eligibility if he is caught having signed with an agent. The NCAA has control over players, coaches and other athletic personnel, but not agents.

"It's another move to keep agents out of it," Schultz said. "The player wants to purchase the insurance, but a bank won't loan them the money. {Agents} come in and say, 'I'll pay this premium if you come with me.' "

Virginia's Ralph Sampson, the top choice in the 1983 NBA draft, was the first college player to get disability insurance, when he decided to remain in school instead of going hardship. His parents borrowed the money and paid a $15,000 to $20,000 premium to Lloyd's of London for $1 million worth of insurance.

At that time, it was against NCAA rules for an athlete to borrow the money himself; that rule was changed five years ago.

Richard Hunter, executive vice president of National Sports Underwriters, which handles some insurance for the NCAA, said approximately 35 to 40 athletes already have requested applications for the disability insurance. Only players, parents, coaches and athletic directors can request the applications -- another attempt to keep agents out of the picture, he said.

In another move to quell agents, the NCAA Pro Sports Liason Committee, which came up with the idea for the disability insurance, is working on a proposal for the 1992 NCAA convention that would allow basketball and football players to apply for the draft as underclassmen, but retain their eligibility if they decide to remain in school and do not hire an agent.

Current rules prohibit a player who renounces his eligibilty from further college competition. But several athletes recently changed their minds before the draft and their eligibility was restored upon appeal, with a penalty of sitting out two or three games.

Some agents tell athletes they will go high in the draft to get them to sign. "Agents now use that as a ploy," Schultz said.

That's why many football players who applied for the NFL draft as underclassmen this year were not drafted at all, said Maryland football coach Joe Krivak: "You induce a kid to come out and they don't get what they are told. The only person out is the kid, and we have to do what's best for our athletes."