CHAPEL HILL, N.C., NOV. 10 -- Fiesta Bowl selection committee chairman Don Meyers said tonight that officials of the New Year's Day game have told Virginia they would extend the Cavaliers an invitation to play in their game and the school has indicated it would accept. However, Virginia Athletic Director Jim Copeland said that was not the case.

Meyers also said Fiesta Bowl officials are contemplating a plan to move the game out of Arizona because the state's voters defeated a measure to adopt Martin Luther King's birthday as a state holiday. Copeland said he has been told the game would be played in Florida, Texas or California, but he declined to be more specific.

"We understand that the {Virginia} team has taken a vote and they have voted to come to play in the Sunkist Fiesta Bowl," Meyers said in an ESPN interview at halftime of tonight's Houston-Texas game. "Our conversations with Virginia basically are these: We have told them that we would extend a bid to them on the 24th of November, when bids can be extended, and they have told us that they have every reason to believe that they would accept that bid."

But in a telephone interview from his home in Charlottesville, Copeland said Virginia had taken no action regarding the Fiesta Bowl.

"The Virginia team has not taken a vote," Copeland said. "It has not met to do that. The only thing I will say is that my conversations with the Fiesta Bowl people have been positive. We did not indicate to them that we would accept the bid."

Regarding the game site, Meyers said he hopes Arizona will take legislative action to adopt a Civil Rights Day, but he said the final determination would rest with the participating schools.

"We have developed a contingency plan," Meyers said. "The two universities that participate in our game will evaluate the situation in Arizona, and if the universities tell us that they don't think it would be in their best interest to have their athletes play in this state because of what occurred last Tuesday, then we will play the Sunkist Fiesta Bowl, but we will not play it in Arizona. We will play at another location.

" . . . I believe there will be a concerted effort to resolve this issue. I think in order for the game to stay in Arizona, the universities are going to have to be satisfied that there is a process underway to create a Civil Rights Day in Arizona, and I think that can happen. We're optimistic that it will happen and we're going to leave no stone unturned to keep the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. It's an Arizona institution and we want to keep it that way."

Virginia officials have said they will meet Sunday morning to discuss the school's bowl situation, with a decision on whether to participate in the Fiesta Bowl possible by late afternoon. "It will be narrowed down to a couple of options," Copeland said this afternoon after the Cavaliers defeated North Carolina, 24-10. "We've decided to take into consideration everything that has happened and decide where we'd like to go if an invitation is extended."

Virginia's players were instructed to be available Sunday to discuss the situation, and several indicated a team vote would result in a desire to play in the Fiesta Bowl.