An eight-month probe has found no evidence of widespread steroid use by Michigan State football players, the head of a special panel said yesterday.

The committee was formed in April after the Detroit News reported rampant steroid use by members of the 1987 Spartans football squad. That team won the Big Ten title and the 1988 Rose Bowl to finish at 9-2-1.

"We know that there is some steroid use, but it is very, very small. We're very confident that MSU has a low usage. It's not anywhere near the national average," said James Studer, assistant vice president for student affairs, who chaired the special committee.

A national study found approximately 5 percent of all college athletes use steroids and about 10 percent of all football players. Since there are 130 football players at Michigan State, "we came to the conclusion that there's not a steroid issue at Michigan State," Studer said. . . .

LaPhonso Ellis, the leading scorer for the beleaguered Notre Dame basketball team, is academically ineligible and will play no more this season, Coach Digger Phelps said.

The loss of Ellis aggravates Notre Dame's situation. The Irish are 6-9 after losing seven consecutive games in their worst start since Phelps's first season at Notre Dame, 20 years ago.

The 6-foot-9 Ellis, who is from East St. Louis, Ill., scored a career-high 32 points Tuesday in Notre Dame's 84-70 victory over West Virginia. He has averaged 15.3 points.

Ellis, an accounting major, passed all of his courses but failed to maintain the 2.0 cumulative grade-point average Notre Dame requires for athletes to compete. . . .

Quarterback Todd Marinovich may enter the NFL draft, he may remain at Southern California or he may transfer to another school to play football, his father said.

"Right now, he hasn't made up his mind what he wants to do," Marv Marinovich said. "I have not advised him. He has to make his own decisions that affect his life."