National keynote speaker Doug Plank of Recruiting Realities will bring his presentation on college athletic recruiting to Lakes Community High School at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the auditorium, 1600 Eagle Way, Lake Villa.
"It's a Game, Know the Rules" will serve as a reality check for families of student-athletes looking to get their degree and play at the college level.
Plank started his career as one of the premier defensive backs in Ohio State history. He was then selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1975 NFL draft and was regarded as one of the hardest hitting safeties in NFL history. The famed "46 Defense" created by Buddy Ryan was named after Plank's jersey number.
Plank has an extensive background as a radio and TV analyst for Fox Sports and Westwood One, including AFL, NCAA and NFL football games. He was named two-time AFL coach of the year, 2005-07. He is currently the head coach of-the arena football Orlando Predators in Orlando.
Plank's message is never sugarcoated: "It may not be what some parents want to hear, but it definitely is what they need to bear. I'm primarily trying to get families to be realistic about the opportunities that are available and to get them to understand it's about getting your education, not about hitting the ball, kicking the ball, throwing the ball. It's about finding the right match academically."
One of the many realities Plank details is the high expectations of athletes and parents when it comes to having sports pay for a college education.
"There are a lot of student-athletes out there and less than 1 percent are going to a Division 1 school, he said. "However, you've got 99 percent of kids out there that can play at the college level in divisions other than D1. The key is finding the right school and financial aid package."
Student-athletes need to come to terms with three basic realities:
• You don't get to pick the school. They pick you.
• A college coach can't recruit you if he/she doesn't know who you are. Student athletes need to market themselves.
• Don't get hung up on the words "athletic scholarship." Focus on "funding" comprising academic money, merit money, grants, endowment and achievement money.
Parents whose son or daughter is serious about getting a college degree and passionate about the sport they play have an opportunity to hear the truth about college athletic recruiting, the role of their high school coach, the impact of today's social media and where parents fit into the process.
For more on Plank's presentation, visit the Recruiting Realities website, www.recruitingrealities.com.