Home > NewsRelease > ‘Surviving the Second Tier,’ by M.K. Lever Wins Gold from Literary Titan Book Awards
Text Graphics
‘Surviving the Second Tier,’ by M.K. Lever Wins Gold from Literary Titan Book Awards
M.K. Lever -- Author of Surviving the Second Tier M.K. Lever -- Author of Surviving the Second Tier
Austin, TX
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

‘Surviving the Second Tier,’ by M.K. Lever Wins Gold from Literary Titan Book Awards

Austin, TX—M.K. Lever's Surviving the Second Tier won Gold at the Literary Titan Book Awards. The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. They review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with the Literary Book Award.

Imagine a world where coercion, control, surveillance, and manipulation reign. Where imbalance of power makes exploitation easy and where those at the bottom of the heap sacrifice everything to make a profit for those at the top. M.K. Lever's knockout debut work of fiction, Surviving the Second Tier, weaves these issues and themes throughout a new fictional dystopia to display the real-world truths that face athletes in the college athletic system.

Lever, a doctoral candidate in NCAA Rhetoric and sportswriter, noted on the Mark Bishop Radio Show that talking NCAA policy to audiences tends to "cause their eyes to glaze over." For this reason, she decided to address the crisis in college athletics in a gritty, futuristic novel: "I would tell people the NCAA is a dystopia, when they would ask about my research, for all of the reasons that you mentioned earlier—the coercion, the control, the surveillance—all of these things that exist in the real-world college sports industry also exist in dystopian literature. And so, I decided to marry those two things in order to just educate people in these real-world problems in a more engaging and interesting way."

Listen to the entire interview of M.K. Lever by Mark Bishop at https://soundcloud.com/expertclickradio/katie-lever-author-of-surviving-the-second-tier-featured-on-mark-bishop-radio-show

"I wrote this book to educate readers about the reality of the college sports industry, as someone who has been there before," shares Lever. "Sometimes, facts and statistics don't stick with people and since we are intrinsically wired to follow narratives, I wanted to tell people a story in hopes that the message would resonate in a unique and powerful way. I wanted to give college sports the 1984 treatment and create a narrative that would be impactful and a little unsettling."

"Finally, a novel that both entertains and informs about the college and university paradigm of recruiting, rewarding, retaining and career placement of athletes…A very impressive debut novel by MK Lever, an informed – and experienced – former Division 1 runner - providing an exceptional story and encouragement for students to navigate a changing athletic system." —Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame Top 50 Reviewer, 5-Stars

M.K. Lever, a former Division 1 athlete and PhD candidate at UT Austin, combines her personal experiences as a college athlete and the weight of her academic research in areas concerning NCAA rhetoric, discourse, and policy to create her stunning and emotionally driven literary debut. Surviving the Second Tier depicts a new day in college athletics in which the old multi-sport model has collapsed and the bare bones, but extremely profitable Amateur Fighting Association has risen in its place. Where students once competed in a multitude of sports on a variety of playing fields, now college athletes have only the AFA ring in which to prove themselves in full-contact, no holds barred fights to the finish.

Undefeated and on her way to a perfect record, Sicily "Sis" Jones pushes her way through injury and intense stress to maintain both her fighting record and her perfect GPA. Financial pressure, family pressure, and a cut-throat coach add to her already driven nature, keeping her right at the edge of breaking and hungry to win. Most of Sis's teammates are in no better place – the AFA taps into the pool of poor, disadvantaged kids and the fame attained in the ring to further the profits wrung from the lives of the athletes. Each member of Sis's team is "fighting scared", battling the personal demons that drive them and having those expertly exploited by their coach to gain maximum control of his fighters

"A stark view of college athletics in a bleak future where fighting is the main sport, all other sports are gone and an abusive, exploitive, charnel house of multi-division Fight Clubs is all that exists. By stripping out all familiar names or descriptions in a novel focused on the three fighters, M.K. Lever adroitly brings attention to the plight of college athletes and athletics today." —Brad Butler, Author, 5-Stars

As a graduate student researching NCAA policy and rhetoric, Lever began to describe college athletics as a "dystopia" and soon found that listeners engaged more with the ideas she was sharing. "Surviving the Second Tier is different from other dystopias," explains Lever. "It targets the college sports industry, inviting the reader to spend some time living and experiencing the life of a college athlete rather than just watching them compete or reading about them in the media.

"This is a one of a kind book, an emotionally striking, multifaceted narrative of manipulation and control that is both chilling and revealing. Surviving the Second Tier is a valuable contribution to current conversations around the abuse, control, and exploitation of college athletes. M.K. Lever has given us a knockout work of fiction – college athletics meets the Hunger Games…" —Jessica Tofino, Educator and Writer, 5-Stars

Listen to the entire interview of M.K. Lever on Parenting Aces podcast at https://soundcloud.com/expertclickradio/mk-lever-author-of-surviving-the-second-tier-featured-on-parenting-aces-radio-show

Surviving the Second Tier, Hugo House Publishers, 429 pages, available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon 

About M.K. Lever: M. K. Lever is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, researching NCAA rhetoric and policy, and working as a freelance sportswriter and sports consultant. She graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.A. in Organizational Communication. While at WKU, she was a Division 1 athlete running track and cross country and was a two-time Sun Belt Conference champion in track and field (indoor and outdoor).

Lever's debut novel, Surviving the Second Tier, combines her personal experiences an athlete with her academic research to bring attention to issues such as corruption, censorship, exploitation, and abuse that affect the lives of the athletes within the college sports industry. Lever is an advocate for college athletes and resides in Austin, TX.

Media Contact: For a review copy of Surviving the Second Tier or to arrange an interview with M.K. Lever, contact Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications Book Marketing at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on twitter @abookpublicist

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Scott Lorenz
Group: Westwind Communications Book Marketing
Dateline: Plymouth, MI United States
Direct Phone: 734-667-2098
Jump To M.K. Lever -- Author of Surviving the Second Tier Jump To M.K. Lever -- Author of Surviving the Second Tier
Contact Click to Contact