Mark Schlabach implied that major universities slide student-athletes through the system by granting them credits and sometimes grades for their participation in intercollegiate athletics ["Varsity Athletes Get Class Credit," front page, Aug. 26]. I see no problem with this practice.

I received some credits toward a physical education requirement and a grade for my minor contributions to the football team at Washington and Lee University, a small liberal arts school that competes on the Division III level. During football season, my weekdays from about 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. were occupied by practice and meetings. I had Saturday games, road trips and off-season conditioning. And top-level athletes spend significantly more time on their sports.

How is rewarding student-athletes with credit and grades different from giving grades to musicians who practice and perform music, artists who make art and journalists who write? Certainly, there are egregious examples of favoritism for student-athletes, but awarding credits to athletes in recognition of their efforts on an intercollegiate team isn't one of them.

ANDREW SIMMONS

Chicago

*

Anyone who has been involved in intercollegiate activities knows that being awarded credit and grades for participation is not confined to sports.

For example, a friend of mine earned 24 credits for participating in intercollegiate debate for four years. Another earned 32 credits for participating in the model United Nations program. Members of my school's ballroom dancing club used class time to practice for competitions, earning one credit each semester. Similarly, members of the student government and marching band at various schools receive credit for participation.

If an English major can get credit for participating in theater, why shouldn't that same student earn credit for playing intercollegiate soccer?

DON PERKINS

East Greenbush, N.Y.