College football recorded its second-highest attendance in 1990, but the figure also represented its third-smallest overall increase since 1957.

The NCAA reported varsity teams from 673 four-year colleges belonging to the association drew 36,560,247 fans.

For the third year in a row, the Southeastern Conference did better than the Big Ten, which had led conference averages for three decades. The SEC averaged 63,870, and its 4.2 million overall total was the second-most in Division I-A history. The Pac-10 was third and the Big Eight fourth for I-A averages.

Michigan took its 17th straight national attendance title, extending its streak of 100,000-plus crowds to 97 since Nov. 8, 1975. . . .

Syracuse University's law firm will conduct an internal inquiry into allegations that the basketball program violated NCAA rules.

Syracuse spokesman Robert Hill said the findings will be presented to Chancellor Melvin A. Eggers by the end of the spring semester in early May.

The school's inquiry is independent of any action by the NCAA, which hasn't told Syracuse whether it will investigate the charges that players received cash and other gifts.

Hill said the university has asked the Syracuse Post-Standard to furnish all information collected in a seven-month investigation, including the names of anonymous sources.

"The stories themselves are the best resource the university could use," Managing Editor Michael Connor said, adding that the Post-Standard would not surrender any of its information or reveal its sources. . . .

Heisman Trophy-winner Ty Detmer underwent surgery on one of two shoulders separated during Brigham Young's Holiday Bowl loss to Texas A&M last Saturday. Coach LaVell Edwards said the operation was on the junior quarterback's right (throwing) shoulder. "Everything went well and he will be back in school next week," Edwards said. . . .

Colorado quarterback Darian Hagan was released from a Denver hospital, two days after surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in the Orange Bowl.