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Top NCAA executive visits Sport Management classes

Oliver Luck, executive vice president of regulatory affairs and an authority on all NCAA regulatory functions, spoke with Visiting Professor Bill Squadron’s “Sport Law” classes on Nov. 30.

For 13 weeks this semester, students in Bill Squadron’s “Sport Law” classes have examined pertinent legal issues in the sports industry, including deep dives into policy development and governing bodies such as the NCAA and professional sports leagues.

Oliver Luck, the NCAA’s executive vice president of regulatory affairs, speaks with Visiting Professor Bill Squadron’s “Sport Law” class on Nov. 30.

Led by the visiting professor of sport management, the NCAA-focused classes have reviewed student-athlete compensation issues, the antitrust class action lawsuit by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, the attempt by Division I football players to unionize, and many other legal topics relevant to college athletics today.

To provide firsthand insights to supplement these classroom discussions, Squadron invited Oliver Luck, the NCAA’s executive vice president of regulatory affairs, to visit his Nov. 30 classes on campus.

In his role, Luck oversees all NCAA regulatory functions – enforcement, academic and membership affairs, and the eligibility center. He also leads a team of individuals responsible for investigating potential violations involving member schools.

“A big part of the ‘Sport Law’ curriculum for the class is based on college athletics and a lot of the issues surrounding college sports,” Squadron said. “Since Oliver’s role is integral to these issues from an NCAA standpoint, I thought his perspective would fit really well with that part of the curriculum. He was quite generous to take a day and share his thoughts with us.”

In addition to his recent work with the NCAA, Luck discussed his far-ranging career path that included five years as a NFL backup quarterback, general manager stints with two professional football organizations in Germany, and a role as CEO of the Houston Sports Authority, where he oversaw the financing, construction and management of three sports venues now home to the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets and Houston Texans. The latter position eventually led to a term as president of the Houston Dynamo, which won the 2006 and 2007 MLS Cups during his leadership.

While his decorated career has had several stops, Luck listed his four years as athletic director of his alma mater, West Virginia University, among his most rewarding accomplishments. Most notably, he was pivotal in the Mountaineers’ transition from the Big East Conference to the Big 12 Conference.

Luck explained that much of his career success could be traced back to how he differentiated himself from others. He initially landed his role heading the Frankfurt franchise in the NFL’s World League because he spoke German. He noted that his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin gave him great flexibility in the sports industry.

“Anything on your resume that sets you apart matters,” he said to Squadron’s 10:30 a.m. class.

During his campus visit, Luck also spoke with faculty members in the Department of Sport Management and had an informal meeting with Dave Blank, director of athletics, and Curt Cignetti, head football coach. Coincidentally, Cignetti served as Luck’s backup at West Virginia, where they both played under Cignetti’s father, Frank Cignetti Sr.

Luck is the father of Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts and the first overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Tommy Kopetskie,
12/1/2017 3:45 PM