The weight of red tape, tradition, and a rather complacent administrative system has sustained a number of anachronisms in the Athletic Association's methods of awarding sports letters. A player in a major sport gets his major "H" even if he sees only five seconds of action against Yale opponents, while an athlete in a minor sport, no matter how brilliant his record, has to be content with a small letter. And if a man in any sport does not play in his Yale contest--for whatever reasons --he has to forego his letter.
Fortunately, there is machinery provided to circumvent the administrative rigidities. Exceptions can be made to the long-standing rules through a complex system of votes by various committees. A standout player who missed his Yale game because of illness or injury can be awarded his letter. But the machinery is too involved and slow-moving; therefore, it is little used.
The system would be made fairer by dropping the requirement that a man compete against Yale for his "H," and letting the coaches decide. Captains of minor sports squads deserve major letters --which the authorities have in special cases acknowledged. Finally, as a measure to improve the quality of minor sports teams, squads having excellent but not perfect records should receive major letters. Such flexibility in the awarding of the "H" would go a long way towards reducing the number of unfair cases that now exist through sheer tradition and bureaucracy.