WHEN MARYLAND plays Georgia Tech in football Saturday at Byrd Stadium the locker rooms will be closed, as usual, to all reporters, male and female. The first thing Terps sports information director Herb Hartnett did when he came to Maryland three years ago was set up a separate post-game interview room. "If the media needs 20 players brought in," says Hartnett, "we'll get them." Bet you the pros -- including the Nude England Patriots -- go to the same thing. And soon.
* Now that the regular baseball season is over, brace yourself for the big drama in New York: Will free agent Darryl Strawberry stay with the Mets, or will he play in California in '91? Strawberry's teammates already have answered that one as far as I'm concerned. When polled, they said -- to a man -- that Darryl was history in New York. Players know.
* Best-kept secret of the fall is the second annual Choice-Visa lacrosse tournament to be held at UMBC Oct. 13-14. The first day Johns Hopkins plays Towson State, and UMBC plays Loyola. Winners meet the next day for the title.
Tony Seaman, Hopkins' new coach, has run into some terrible luck. He already has lost a half-dozen players to injury. They include former All-America Matt Panetta, who underwent a second ankle operation today, and co-captain Billy Dwan. One Hopkins kid's lung collapsed in a restaurant the other night. "And Towson is loaded," said Seaman. "Carl Runk [Towson State coach] says this is the best team he's ever had."
* Sister Catherine, director of Christopher Place for Homeless Men, attended an Orioles-Blue Jays game this week and came up with an idea. "They're always having giveaway nights at the baseball games," she said. "Why not turn it around for one night and have every fan bring one pair of socks for the homeless? You can't imagine how much good 20,000 pairs of socks would do." Sounds good to me. Take it from there, Orioles.
* To you people who've asked how Atlanta can justify spending $1 billion on the '96 Olympics, it's simple: Organizers project that the Games will bring $3.5 billion into the Georgia economy. Of course, Montreal projected profits in '76. The Canadians are still paying that tab.
* Jack Cloud's cloud-nine feeling over being selected for the College Football Hall of Fame has been tempered by the death in Baltimore this week of his old William & Mary center, Tommy Thompson. Says Cloud, who coached at Navy for 30 years and is now Ted Patterson's color man on Navy football broadcasts: "Just about every touchdown I ever scored was right behind Tommy." Cloud will be enshrined Dec. 4 at the Waldorf in New York.
* Former Baltimore U. athlete Bob Lacy, now a painting contractor, believes ex-Colt Joe Ehrmann, with little recognition, has become one of this town's truly great men. Ehrmann, an ordained minister, operates The Door, a Christian ministry at Washington and Chester streets in East Baltimore. Joe runs such things as tutorial programs and Bible study for kids. If you'd like to volunteer your time or talent, call 675-3288.
* People forget what a gamble ex-Baltimorean George Young took when he made quarterback Phil Simms his No. 1 draft choice. Young, GM of the New York Giants, took Simms from Morehead State. On the day of the draft I heard George Allen question that, saying, "You like to have a No. 1 pick with a little better background than that." Simms has taken the Giants to one Super Bowl and might have them on the way to another now. They're 4-0 and Giants fans think Simms is just fine.