- Former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck is suing league owner Vince McMahon for wrongful termination.
- Luck was laid off with most of the XFL’s staff in early April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- For his role as commissioner, Luck signed a contract worth $20 million guaranteed over its lifespan.
- The lawsuit is shrouded in mystery because of confidentiality clauses in Luck’s contract with the XFL.
STAMFORD, Conn. – In the wake of the XFL’s untimely demise, league commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck is suing the league’s owner, Vince McMahon, for wrongful termination.
Luck’s lawsuit seeks attorney fees, damages, and the fulfillment of some or all terms of Luck’s contract. In May 2018, he signed a deal worth roughly $20 million. Luck was not listed as a creditor in the XFL’s bankruptcy filings; he is seeking damages for breach of contract.
Luck was laid off via a letter McMahon sent to him on April 9, which allegedly laid out the reasons for his termination. McMahon laid off the majority of the league’s staff the next day and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 12.
The lawsuit is heavily redacted because of confidentiality clauses in Luck’s contract. Details are sparse, and a protracted legal battle seems likely, given the amount of money at stake. A wrongful termination suit of this magnitude likely won’t be settled in mediation.
The 2020 reboot of the XFL was expected to be much more financially stable, with McMahon pledged to personally inject $500 million into the league over three years.
After the Coronavirus pandemic largely shut down American sports in mid-March, the XFL was forced to shut its doors. When combined with the overall negative economic climate, McMahon made the decision that the league would not return in 2021.
McMahon’s legal arguments will likely center around the pandemic. If Luck’s contract included a force majeure clause, the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially absolve much or all of McMahon’s liability.
Prior to his stint with the XFL, Luck served four years with the NCAA as the executive vice president for regulatory affairs and as chairman of the College Football Playoff Committee.
What’s Next For The Luck And The XFL?
The XFL could potentially return, although it is unlikely. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is intended to give companies time to reorganize their debts and assets.
As part of bankruptcy proceedings, the XFL was put up for sale, but there are unlikely to be any buyers given the current market. For all intents and purposes, the XFL appears to be dead in the water once again.
The XFL’s ill-fated return and the coinciding pandemic have likely only strengthened the NFL’s monopoly on American professional football.
Oliver Luck has a great reputation as a sports executive and administrator and will likely land another high-profile gig in short order.
He could potentially return to the college sports ranks as an athletic director, although athletic departments could be hesitant to open their checkbooks given the overall financial uncertainty. Luck previously served as the AD at West Virginia from 2010 to 2014.
With a dual background in English and sports performance and business analytics, Carter aims to write stories that both engage and inform the reader. He prides himself on his ability to interweave empirical data and traditional narrative storytelling. When he isn’t keeping readers up to date on the latest sports betting legal news, he’s banging his head against a wall regretting his decision to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.