The XFL, yes that XFL, is making a comeback and Vince McMahon has his league’s new Commissioner and CEO: Oliver Luck.
Luck is a familiar name for West Virginia fans. He spent 2010 to 2014 as the Mountaineer’s athletic director before becoming the vice president of regulatory affairs for the NCAA. Oh, and he has some experience in the NFL with the former Houston Oilers.
The XFL’s return is planned for 2020, or 19 years after it’s first and only season (2001) to date. The WWE-NFL hybrid started off with great ratings, but those ratings quickly vanished as fans had a hard time buying into a viewing experience drastically different from the NFL.
Differences from the XFL and NFL included an opening scramble for the ball in place of a kickoff, legal forward motion, and an amped up version of the NCAA’s overtime rules.
The reboot comes as the NFL has faced a ratings decline as the league has come under fire in recent years for political issues, concussion concerns, and violence against women issues. We don’t yet know what rules will carry over from the XFL’s original season, but the league has already vowed to shorten the game and will avoid political issues. Furthermore, the league will not allow players with a criminal record.
Oliver Luck’s football pedigree makes him a natural fit as the XFL’s Commissioner, but it is interesting considering he has a son you might have heard of before playing in the NFL. Luck will official begin his new role on July 1.
From the press release:
The XFL today announced that former NFL and NCAA executive and quarterback Oliver Luck has been named the league’s Commissioner & CEO. The new XFL kicks off in early 2020 and will deliver a fan-centric, innovative experience, including fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment, complemented by cross-platform viewing options and real-time fan engagement.
“Oliver and I share the same vision and passion for reimagining the game of football,” said Vince McMahon, XFL Founder and Chairman. “His experience as both an athlete and executive will ensure the long-term success of the XFL.”
“Football has always been a constant in my life and I’m excited about the unique opportunity to present America’s favorite sport to fans in a new way,” said Oliver Luck. “The XFL will create first-class organizations that local cities across the country will be proud of.”
Earlier in his career, Luck served as President of NFL Europe and General Manager of the league’s Frankfurt Galaxy and Rhein Fire. Most recently Luck was the NCAA’s Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Strategic Partnerships where he oversaw all NCAA regulatory functions including enforcement, academic and membership affairs, and the Eligibility Center.
Prior to the NCAA, Luck spent four years as the Director of Athletics at his alma mater, West Virginia University, where he presided over the school’s transition into the Big 12 Conference. He was also the first President and General Manager of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo, and led the organization to two MLS Cup titles.
A Rhodes Scholarship finalist, Luck graduated from West Virginia University where he was a three-year starting quarterback, two-time Academic All-American, two-time team MVP and currently ranks sixth on the school’s all-time list for both passing yards and touchdowns. Luck was selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers where he played until 1986.
Luck earned his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, graduating cum laude in 1987. He’s a member of the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame and CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
Plans for the XFL at launch include eight teams, 40-man active rosters and a 10-week regular season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.