President Biden’s nominee for deputy secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made nearly millions at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) while arguing against paying college athletes.
Donald Remy made $1.8 million in salary over two years as the NCAA’s chief legal officer, according to his financial disclosure forms. Remy is also slated to receive between $1 million and $5 million over the next three years as part of a severance package from the NCAA.
Before Biden nominated Remy for the VA’s number two spot in April, the lawyer defended the NCAA’s restrictive limits on compensation for student-athletes as they rake in cash for their schools, programs, and the networks broadcasting the games.
“Student-athletes are not employees, and their participation in college sports is voluntary,” Remy continued. “We stand for all student-athletes, not just those the unions want to professionalize.”
“Student-athletes are not employees within any definition of the National Labor Relations Act or the Fair Labor Standards Act,” he added. “We are confident the National Labor Relations Board will find in our favor, as there is no right to organize student-athletes.”
The Biden Justice Department threw its support behind the student-athletes in March, urging the Supreme Court to rule against the NCAA in a court case focused on what kinds of education-related benefits schools can give to their student-athletes.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) helps the DOJ oversee antitrust cases and also signed onto the brief. The Trump Justice Department took aim at the NCAA over player compensation, as well, with the antitrust division of the agency taking point.
Remy last weighed in on the case in March of this year, a week before the Biden DOJ signaled their support of student-athlete compensation.
“Respondents’ brief challenges an argument that the NCAA is not making, nor has ever made, namely that the NCAA seeks antitrust immunity,” Remy wrote. “Indeed, the NCAA has always known that its rules are subject to antitrust review.”
“But as Supreme Court precedent and other courts make clear, antitrust law allows the NCAA to shape rules to maintain a clear distinction between professional and collegiate sports,” the nominee continued.
Remy also said that while “respondents agree that the NCAA has the authority” to keep making the rules when it comes to academically unrelated benefits, “they fail to sufficiently justify why a federal judge should be able to micromanage a critical aspect of college sports.”
“The so-called education-related benefits as described by respondents can fairly be characterized as thinly-disguised pay for play,” Remy added. “We look forward to filing our reply in the coming weeks.”
The NCAA has been slowly making it easier for players to receive compensation as they compete. Lower court rulings did not alleviate the NCAA’s rules, but made it easier for student-athletes to get laptops, internships, and other educational opportunities like paid-for graduate school.
Additionally, the NCAA is moving to change its own internal rules to allow third parties to conditionally pay college athletes for things like autographs and endorsements. That is not part of the Supreme Court appeal.
Neither the White House nor Remy immediately returned Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Bill Mears and Shannon Bream contributed to this report.