Despite four schools leaving after this season, and the prospect of no automatic conference bid to the NCAA basketball tournament next year, Virginia Tech announced yesterday it will stay with the Metro Conference.

Virginia Tech, which last week joined the Big East for football only, had considered the Atlantic 10 and the Colonial Athletic Association for basketball and other sports. But, behind the athletic department's recommendation and a unanimous vote from its coaches, the Blacksburg school decided to retain its affiliation and explore Metro expansion possibilities.

"We . . . are very comfortable with the decision," said Virginia Tech President James D. McComas. "We're not looking at it as an iffy proposition."

With Florida State, Memphis State, Cincinnati and South Carolina leaving, the Metro's future was questioned. But now, a note of confidence.

"Obviously, we needed to know where Virginia Tech stood before we could go ahead with expansion," Metro Commissioner Ralph McFillen said. "I think with Virginia Tech's commitment we will be able to attract institutions. . . . It enhances the possibilities of a couple of schools we have in mind." . . .

Big Ten athletic directors will meet Feb. 26 about rescheduling 1993 football to incorporate new member Penn State. Coach Joe Paterno expressed hope that by spring his school will have a full Big Ten schedule for 1993 -- "It is vital for us."