Sumners out of the 'worlds'; shrine requires degree

Rosalynn Sumners has decided not to defend her women's title in the world figure skating championships in Ottawa later this month. She obviously was torn , and withheld the announcement longer than anticipated.

On one hand was the desire to end her amateur career on top rather than as a somewhat unfulfilled Olympic silver medalist. On the other was the realization that she had wearied of intense international competition and stood to lose more than she gained by participating.

Lorraine Borman, her coach, said Rosalynn could ''easily lose her world championship, and she could even finish fourth or fifth the way things have been going this year.'' She expects skating for a professional ice show and acting to be among her future pursuits.

Arias on ice?

Figure skating, at its highest level, straddles the line between sport and art. Recognizing this fact, the management of the Metropolitan Opera in New York is opening its doors for a performance by the John Curry Skating Company in late July. The six-day run will mark the first time the Met has housed an attraction of this kind. Special arrangements have been made to lay a large ice surface.

Curry, an Englishman who won the 1976 Olympic gold medal, has been a pioneer in putting skating on stage and is devoted to establishing a permanent repertory of ice skaters. Included in his current troupe are former American stars Janet Lynn, David Santee, and JoJo Starbuck. Logical additions to the cast would be British ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, whose ''Bolero'' routine at Sarajevo was an artistic masterpiece as well as an athletic one worthy of the gold medal. Torvill and Dean will end their amateur careers after the world championships.

Touching other bases

* Ninth-ranked Texas-El Paso is the same school (with a different name) that won the NCAA college basketball championship in 1966. The Miners, still coached by Don Haskins, went by the name Texas Western when they interrupted UCLA's dynasty.

* The 1985 National Sports Festival will be held in Baton Rouge, La., which calls itself the amateur sports capital of the South. In the past, Syracuse and Indianapolis have done outstanding jobs hosting this showcase for American Olympic candidates. Because little rides on the outcome, though, the festivals don't receive tremendous media coverage.

* Could the quarterback of a losing college team wind up the first choice in the National Football League draft May 1? Possibly, if the Cincinnati Bengals decide that Duke's Ben Bennett is the best of the available passers, which he could be. Cincinnati no doubt would like to find the heir apparent to quarterback Ken Anderson, who is approaching retirement. The Bengals, who acquired the first pick in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had intended to use it to select Steve Young of Brigham Young until he signed a $40 million contract with the USFL's Los Angeles Express.

* Chet Simmons, commissioner of the United States Football League, says he doesn't like the trend toward outrageous salaries in the USFL. The original idea was to be reasonable, but wealthy businessmen have let their competitive instincts override logic, endangering the league's potential for survival in the process.

* A 30-second shooting clock is used in Olympic basketball. That means that US Coach Bobby Knight, never a run-and-gun advocate, may have to retool his offensive strategy to some degree.

Football fame with a catch

Unless Herschel Walker continues to return to school during the off-season, he may never enter the College Football Hall of Fame. That's because Walker dropped out of Georgia to play professionally in the United States Football League after winning the 1982 Heisman Trophy, and the hall now requires an undergraduate degree for election.

Some coaches feel this offers an important educational incentive to top players, but does it really make sense? Election should be a means of recognizing athletic achievement, pure and simple. And as Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler points out, ''there might be extenuating circumstances where you can't get a degree.''

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