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'Walk-on U'...The Ground-Breaking Book That Exposes the Truth Behind Football's Unsung Underdogs

Tim Lavin's expose on the unspeakable treatment of college football's walk-on players will shock and educate both parents and veteran football fans alike.


Huntington Beach, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/27/2013 -- Labeled and tarred with a negative stigma, football’s walk-on players are legendary second-rate fixtures in the college sports world. The truth behind these top-performing athletes, who go largely unnoticed compared to their scholarship teammates, is detailed in Tim Lavin's compelling new book, "Walk-On U: The Shocking Truth Behind Football’s Unsung Underdogs."

A former USC walk-on, Lavin exposes the truth behind a system that often rewards players based on their standing in the scholarship hierarchy rather than their performance on the playing field. With his sights set on changing football's culture, and overturning unjust NCAA regulations, Lavin is poised to stir a revolution among college sports fans from coast to coast.

While Tim "Mad Dog" Lavin was once regarded as one of college football’s most inspiring young fullbacks, his journey to acceptance and an eventual scholarship from the University of Southern California is a testament to his fight against a system that keeps talented walk-ons labeled second-class players from day one. Like other walk-ons, Lavin was regarded by many of his coaches, and even by NCAA fiat, as subordinate to his teammates who had secured coveted college football scholarships.

However, Lavin levels the playing field with his new book by revealing the inside details of life as a walk-on athlete in a way that he hopes will change NCAA rules and how coaches value walk-ons in the future.

Following is a Synopsis of "Walk-On U: The Shocking Truth Behind Football’s Unsung Underdogs":

Author Tim Lavin talks about the famous walk-ons, each of whom fought daily as a nobody to become a somebody. Some of them make it to the NFL, guys like: Clay Matthews, JJ Watt, Jordy Nelson, Karl Mecklenburg, Gary Brackett, and Thomas Howard, (among scores of others). And the coaches who made it big in their professions who were walk-ons themselves include: Lou Holtz, Terry Donahue, Dabo Swinney, Kevin Sumlin, and Jim Mora (to name just a few). Among the walk-ons who made it big in their chosen vocations were: Kevin Plank, owner of Under Armour, and Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans; Plank a walk-on at Maryland and Emerson at Penn State.

The book is about achieving a silent internal victory not seen by fans or displayed on a scoreboard, of walk-ons who would not take "no" for an answer. Many literally fought their way onto the game field and earned a coveted football scholarship against all odds.

The shocking, disheartening, as well as uplifting and thrilling stories of walk-ons from yesterday will give a whole new perspective to the often negative stigma of being a "walk-on."

As the author explains, his unique insight is the result of experiencing the contradictory treatment by others while being at both ends of the college football reward system at different times.

“I eventually did get a scholarship, which allowed me to directly compare the cultures, adversity, and politics between coaches and their walk-on versus scholarship players. What really struck me was that many walk-ons had just as much—or more—skill, success, and tenacity as the players that colleges would pay top dollar to secure,” says Lavin, who now runs a successful promotion and marketing business.

“However, these walk-ons are forced down a miserable, brutal path of being tackling dummies, blocking bags, and scout team players," he says. "The pain and drudgery is a constant companion to the unbreakable walk-on who keeps coming back because quitting is not in his DNA.”

Early reviews of the book have been highly complementary. For example, Dabo Swinney, Head Coach at Clemson University commented, “At Alabama I didn’t feel like a walk-on, I was more of a crawl-on. This book is long overdue. I can’t believe it has never been done before. I’m so glad Tim Lavin put this together to show the realities of the walk-on world.”

While his book is expected to make a dramatic impact on the sport and literary worlds, Lavin is also launching an accompanying campaign to directly lobby the NCAA. Says Lavin, “My ultimate goal is to overturn the NCAA rules that keep walk-ons down and out. Their second-class treatment is seldom discussed, and I fully intend to make it a front-and-center topic of discussion. For example, walk-ons are not offered the nutritiously-balanced meals that scholarship players are fed during the season. Walk-ons literally have to fend for themselves at the dinner table, and this is a travesty. Every player deserves exactly the same treatment, especially considering my earlier point that many walk-ons excel on the field compared to scholarship players. I want the NCAA to acknowledge the problem, stand up and take action,” he adds.

While formally launching at the end of September 2013, "Walk-On U: The Shocking Truth Behind Football’s Unsung Underdogs" is available for pre-order through the book’s official website: www.walk-onu.com. With the book’s popularity expected to be huge, interested readers are urged to purchase their copies as soon as possible.

About Tim Lavin
Tim Lavin was a walk-on at the University of Southern California in 1988 against the advice of most. He literally fought his way into playing time and earned a scholarship. Following graduation, he received two NFL tryouts. His emotional journey has inspired him to create an educational, informational, and entertaining book, and a new brand, “Walk-On U.” As for the name, Mad Dog, that was his nickname when he was a fullback for the USC Trojans.