I don't intend to justify the unfairness of athletes getting preferential treatment, I only hope to shed a little light on the "reasons" and give you a possible course of action.
1. Athletes are considered important to a school because they give the school prestige, attract funding and donations, and are highly visible members of the student body. They are often stereotyped as academically challenged, so when an athlete does well in school it is usually of significant public relations value to the school's administration to give them all possible honors.
2. Whereas most students operate on an every-man-for-himself basis, athletes have a very vocal advocate in their coach. The coach wants to attract the best athletes to his program and will do whatever it takes to keep them, whether it involves tutoring, special help, or offering other academic incentives. A coach will advocate for his entire team to receive all possible consideration for honors, premium classes, positions of significance on student councils and committees, and the best photos in the yearbook.
3. Athletes that have intentions of moving on to the athletic program in college are perceived as being benefited by academic honors. It will help them compete with non-athletic brainiacs to get into good schools.
If you feel you are of the same academic standing as these athletes being given preferential treatment, and you desire to be put on the "A" honor roll, try the following course of action:
1. Make your school aware of you, get involved in your school through extra curricular activities, volunteer, be a positive supporter of your school.
2. Be your own advocate or recruit your favorite teacher to advocate on your behalf. Just like the athletes, you need a voice, but yours won't come without asking.
3. If you have plans to go on to college, make it clear that you will be benefited by receiving this honor from your school. Some administrators forget that it isn't only athletes that need the breaks.
In the future, your generation will change the need for this inequity. You are the catalyst for an upheaval of the system, enabling intellect to be as highly valued as physical attributes.