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XFL layoffs include Oliver Luck

On the heels of Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick saying that he "can't see playing in empty stadiums," the College Football Playoff Committee says that games won't be played until students are back on campus.

Oliver Luck received a contract that reportedly pays out $20 million guaranteed to serve as Commissioner of the XFL. Luck, according to the Hartford Courant, is among the employees who have been laid off by the spring football league.

Depending on the things contained, or not contained, in Luck’s contract, he possibly has a claim to the balance of the $20 million. But he’d get whatever he gets through the pending Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, which will be something less than 100 cents on the dollar.

There’s a significant difference between Chapter 11 and Chapter Seven. The latter option, which the AAF pursued, entails complete and total liquidation of the business. The former keeps open the possibility of an eventual return, following reorganization of the business and handling of the debts.

As explained by the Wall Street Journal, an initial hearing in bankruptcy court entailed XFL lawyers outlining a plan to sell the league by July 15. The goal, specifically, will be to sell the XFL name, trademarks, and intellectual property, like the slogan “For the Love of Football.” The XFL also wants to sell equipment, merchandise, and other property owned by the league.

Whether anyone will buy the XFL remains to be seen, especially in the current climate. But it could be an intriguing buy-low investment for someone who would be able to wait to bring back the XFL after society returns to normal. The spread of legalized gambling, which may only accelerate as states try to balance their budgets post-pandemic, will create a growing thirst for sports on which to wager.

Also, don’t overlook the old-school football angle. Even though Vince McMahon decided to go with a different approach to XFL 2.0, the buyer (if there is one) could decide to make the XFL as rough and tumble as the first iteration, turning back the clock to the kind of physicality that the NFL has gradually taken out of the game. Right or wrong, that’s the kind of twist that could draw a significant audience to a non-NFL version of pro football.