NAMED: By Northwestern University, Assistant Coach RICK VENTURI, 31, as head football coach to replace John Pont, who resigned after a 1-10 record this fall.
By the University of Mississippi, STEVE SLOAN, 33, who won 23 of 34 games at Texas Tech during the last three years, as head football coach to replace Ken Cooper, who resigned.
REPRIMANDED: By Big Ten Commissioner Wayne Duke, Ohio State football Coach WOODY HAYES, for striking an ABC television cameraman during a Nov. 19 game at Michigan. Hayes was put on one year's probation; if he draws another reprimand during that time, he will be automatically suspended for two games.
SENTENCED: By the Nassau County Criminal Court to three years in prison for second-degree grand larceny, RICHARD SORKIN, an agent for 50 professional athletes, who admits having used $1 million of his clients' money for personal investments and gambling.
SIGNED: By the New York Mets, free agent Outfielder ELLIOTT MADDOX, 29, who played out his option with Baltimore, to an $850,000 five-year contract; by the Chicago Cubs, Slugger DAVE KINGMAN, who hit 26 home runs while playing for four clubs in 1977, to a $1.2 million five-year contract.
DIED: BOB MEUSEL, 81, New York Yankee outfielder from 1920 to 1929 and a member of the famed Murderers' Row that included Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth; in Bellflower, Calif.