Oliver Luck, who has advised Altius Sports Partners and its clients for the two years the company has been in business, is joining the firm full-time as chairman. Casey Schwab, a founding partner, will retain his position as Altius’ chief executive.
In his expanded role as chairman of the name, image and likeness firm, Luck, 61, will take on more of the day-to-day duties. Instead of simply making the introductions in most cases, Luck will be more involved in engaging with current and prospective clients. Altius also will tap into Luck’s expertise to bring him to the table for hires and long-range planning meetings as the firm prepares for what’s next in college athletics.
“In all my years in college athletics, there hasn’t been a bigger change than what NIL has brought,” Luck said. “Because of the uncertainty that has come with it, I think the future looks extraordinarily bright for a group like this that has the experience and understands the dynamics of what’s going on.”
Schwab established Altius as a college-based advisory firm after he had spent more than three years overseeing legal and business affairs as vice president at NFL Players Inc.
Acknowledging that he came into the college space as an outsider without the typical experience there, Schwab needed an advocate, someone to help establish contacts. He credits Luck, a former West Virginia athletic director and NCAA executive vice president, with opening doors for Altius at the college level as NIL became the most pressing issue facing athletic departments in 2021.
Altius quickly emerged as a significant presence in the NIL space, advising universities, teams, players, coaches and ADs. The program is built on compliance and education — the company decided from the start that its client in each case would be the school and that it would not facilitate deals.
“We’ve been pretty disciplined about not representing these NIL collectives or other types of NIL services,” Luck said. “We look at what policies and procedures you need to have in place to protect the school.”
Schwab came out of the gates with Texas and LSU as clients and has grown its roster to nearly 25 schools, almost all of which are in Power Five conferences, that pay $100,000 to $120,000 annually — some more — for Altius’ NIL expertise. Clemson, Oklahoma and Penn State are among the latest signings for Altius.
Luck was a big part of that early success, especially at Texas, which prompted Schwab to think about ways in which he could get Luck more deeply involved in building the NIL specialist.
“Oliver has been critical in the growth of the business,” Schwab said. “He was able to provide us with a level of credibility that we didn’t have.”
Luck on the side has helped launch Country Roads Trust, an NIL collective helping West Virginia athletes find income-producing deals. He’ll maintain his role there.
Luck’s name also surfaced in several speculative reports as a candidate for the Big 12 commissioner’s job to replace retiring Bob Bowlsby. His name routinely comes up — it did during commissioner searches at the ACC and Pac-12 as well.
They’ll cross that bridge if they come to it, Schwab said.