I hope it’s nothing personal.

Oh, noes!  Chris Conley is one of them.

If not a union supporter, at least a union sympathizer.  And a thoughtful one, at that.  (No surprise there.)

Georgia senior receiver Chris Conley is a student representative to the NCAA, so he’s well-educated on the issue. Given his position, Conley has tried to provide more of an informational role to his teammates, explaining the situation and possible ramifications.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding from people,” Conley said. “It’s not just a money issue. And I think that’s what the people on the outside think: ‘Aw athletes are just trying to get paid, they need to calm down with this. It’s an issue that applies to so many other things with student athletes: Time constraints, health, concussions, a bunch of stuff.”

Player injuries are another matter that a union could help.

“I know they do a great job of it here (at Georgia), but there’s no mandate for it across the board with institutions, and how they deal with injuries, when players leave, and ailments that they have,” Conley said. “That’s a big issue that’s on the table. Quite frankly student-athletes want to know that they’re going to be taken care of after they’ve committed so much to a university. They think a university or the NCAA should look after their interests.”

Conley emphasized that he doesn’t know if a union is the right mechanism to fight for student-athletes’ rights. But he called it a “step forward.”

All the players that have spoken out about this – Conley, Ramik Wilson, Jordan Jenkins and Amarlo Herrera are quoted in the article – I’m curious about something.  Those of you who are vehemently opposed to what Seth refers to as “student-athlete rights”, will this sort of talk color your perception of these players?  Will you find it harder to root for them because you know the stance they’ve taken?

This shouldn’t be taken as mockery.  I’ve read a number of comments that players getting paid means the end of fans’ love of the game.  Isn’t this kind of a midway point to that?

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54 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Look For The Union Label

54 responses to “I hope it’s nothing personal.

  1. Spence

    Who the HELL does Connelly think he is giving intelligent answers that consider nuance and unforeseen repercussions?!?!? Doesn’t he know unions are either GOOD or BAD with no middle ground?!?!?

    Snark aside, he is one really intelligent dude who should def go into some form of public speaking/PR when his football days are done. Were I not a lawyer, I’d suggest he go into law.

  2. Chuck

    Not me.

    If all this was going on back when a good seat was $10.00, all the games were on Saturday afternoon at 1:00, you could park at the Pharmacy school and eat a light lunch and easily walk into the stadium on time, when the only music you could hear was the Redcoats (or maybe some rowdiness from the tracks), when if your lunch was not lasting you, a Poss BBQ sammich and a Coke were available, then I might have been a little peeved.

    But that Glorious Time has been slaughtered to worship mammon and spending a little money to take care of health and the future of your main product isn’t just fair; it’s good business.

    • That glorious time is Gone With the Wind. Things evolve into what we as a society make them.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Yeah I miss those days. Parking at the creamery and picnics lunches besides those big magnolia trees. You could leave you things and not worry that someone would consider them fair for the taking. I don’t care for the hotdogs and the nachos and cheese thing give me heart burn. Cokes are a little light on the syrup throws and too much ice. Sometimes I get a little peckish at halftime. I gotta fix that.

  3. Reservoir Dawg

    Somebody’s done a good job educating that young man. I’m proud of the institution that can turn out a person of that thoughtfulness and nuance. Pay ‘em something. And let’s make a Chris Conley type the gold standard for for our recruits from here on.

  4. CreswellKing

    These Players DESERVE to get paid. Period. End of story.

    There are reasonable, dumb, smart, and terrible ways of doing that, but regardless of the solution, they DESERVE to be paid.

  5. Connor

    Chris Conley seems to be an excellent person. He’s one of my favorite players, and I look forward to rooting for him long after he’s stopped playing for UGA.

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    Would somebody please define “student-athlete rights”. It sounds like an infinitely elastic phrase.

  7. PTC DAWG

    If a scholarship, room and board are not enough, I say we go all walk ons.

    Let them join the real world.

    • They’re in the real world. You just don’t like the current version of the real world.

      • PTC DAWG

        They do not realize how good they have it. Call the scholarship, room and board their compensation…tax them on it, watch them crawfish.

        • They’re already taxed on room and board.

        • fetch

          The NCAA has also made it very difficult for them to find gainful employment to pay for “extras”. I know those extras such as eating out occasionally, entertainment, transportation (ie:gas) are considered unnecessary, but you try going 4 years of your prime life without them.

        • CreswellKing

          They don’t realize how good they have it? No, you don’t realize how much better they would have it if the NCAA wasn’t operating a cartel to keep “compensation” of players low.

    • OrlandoDawg

      You mean the real world in which an administrator gets 20 grand that a student earns for him, while the student gets nothing extra? Seems like they’ve already joined it.

      • Ron

        Yes, that’s the real world. When’s the last time a landscaper made as much as the landscaping company’s owner?

        • Gee, I dunno. When’s the last time a GM made more than an established major league baseball player?

        • Emerging from Allie

          How much of their own money do ADs put up toward the establishment and running of athletic departments? They’re not equivalent to the business owner in your model. (Not to mention the relative irreplaceability of the athletes vs. the landscapers.)

      • Ron

        Conley can wait around a few year to get drafted or play football in the interim. Its his choice. Or, he could start his own minor league. Choice is present but it’s easier to blame a highly paid administrator, right?

        You guys don’t get it. The model doesn’t have to fit your worldview. You can always change it….or deal with it.

        • fetch

          I believe the “you can always change it” option is the choice they are trying to make. As long as kids like the ones at NW and Conley are the ones trying to make the changes, I feel like they won’t be made willy-nilly. I am far from a Union supporter (i consider myself a right-leaning libertarian), but I believe in the right to unionize. These changes don’t have to be done through a union, Conley said so himself, but it would be nice if the NCAA would consider the student-atheletes when making choices. It is there reason they were created to start with, right?

        • Emerging from Allie

          They’re trying to change it, Einstein. Deal with it.

          • Ron

            Changing it via collective bargaining is not a marketplace initiative. I guess it’s hard for me to understand because markets seem pretty efficient to me. I’ll say it again….find another league, start one yourself or accept the status quo. Don’t use the courts to force someone to change the rules of their own game. The rules don’t have to be fair, just legal.

            • Emerging from Allie

              Why shouldn’t they use the courts or collective bargaining? You might not think it’s fair … but it’s legal.

              And I suppose since you’re a strict free-market man, you fully support striking down all of the NCAA’s restraint-of-trade rules, particularly those governing transferring.

              That’s the most amusing part of this whole situation to me. You have all the kneejerk anti-union folks rushing to the defense of the NCAA, the most anti-free-market organization this side of Havana (except, of course, insofar as it serves to fill their own coffers).

            • I take it that means if the NCAA loses O’Bannon, you’ll (1) be in favor of the players being paid and (2) be opposed to the NCAA going to Congress for an antitrust exemption.

    • Chuck

      To add a little to what the Senator said below: When the NCAA was created everyone was a walkon. There were no scholarships until some time after WWII. I am not quite old enough to recall exactly why the change was made, but I suspect it had to do with walkons getting paid by supporters and the NCAA hoping to get a grip on that. The process has evolved since, and this issue is just another part of that evolution. The main difference is that this time it’s more about the players, and less about the NCAA/big money makers. If it stays reasonable, I am okay with that.

  8. I Wanna Red Cup

    Chris Conley is one DGD. And he is the greedy NCAA’s worse nightmare. He is certainly living in a real world. Great job!

  9. Cosmic Dawg

    My thought is I tend to think of a union as a collective bargaining group that is attempting to monopolize labor, which is no different philosophically than trying to monopolize any other resource.

    However, these kids are in an environment that is already a govt protected industry. The correct thing to me would be to get rid of the root problem – artificial barriers to entry for NFL and MBA minor leagues and their competition – rather than heap an addiitional problem on top of that.

    However, if we can’t break up Ma Bell, so to speak, then labor in a protected industry should be expected to unionize beause there is no competition for THEIR resource that gives them fair market value. However, I’d suggest the players first form an independent association to negotiate for injury protection, health care, etc and only “unionize” if they decide they want to go after the dinero.

    An association can still call a strike without the negative connotations of “unionizing, much of which has been earned by bad actors in

  10. Cosmic Dawg

    My thought is I tend to think of a union as a collective bargaining group that is attempting to monopolize labor, which is no different philosophically than trying to monopolize any other resource.

    However, these kids are in an environment that is already a govt protected industry. The correct thing to me would be to get rid of the root problem – artificial barriers to entry for NFL and MBA minor leagues and their competition – rather than heap an addiitional problem on top of that.

    However, if we can’t break up Ma Bell, so to speak, then labor in a protected industry should be expected to unionize beause there is no competition for THEIR resource that gives them fair market value. However, I’d suggest the players first form an independent association to negotiate for injury protection, health care, etc and only “unionize” if they decide they want to go after the dinero.

    An association can still call a strike without the negative connotations of “unionizing”, a reputation which has been largely earned by bad actors in that world.

    • Cojones

      The association wouldn’t have the power to get it done as a certified union would.

      I m wondering how many people here have had experience in dealing with a union. My experience covered several years and directly as a management section chief to over 45 workers in the 70s. Simply put, the union contract assured proper worker treatment in the workplace and in return guaranteed that the labor force would always show up. It was a responsible Chemical Workers Union that even assisted in getting rid of Guard-House lawyers and slackers. Over 1500 union members worked there and no one ever strutted power. A union VP even warned a slacker in my office(after the worker requested an audience with the VP present). After our meeting, the VP warned the hourly that if he continued on his slacker path that I was going to fire him and stode out. It was a responsible union.

      If we get our union education from media only (AFL-CIO was compared to communism during one part of our history) it will never measure accurately what a union is or does. Were there powerful unions who could threaten the entire country? Certainly, – and they did, but they don’t represent any measuring stick for most unions to me. They are necessary for many people to be able to excerise their rights and for fair treatment in the workplace. Unions arise out of necessity.

  11. Mike Cooley

    It won’t make me stop liking them at all. I’m not 100% against them being paid. I haven’t completely made up my mind on the topic. Besides, I figured most of them were democrats and this loved unions. Lol.

    • They become Republicans when they sign that first big contract. ;)

      • JonDawg

        And revert back to democrats as soon as “bad fortune” falls upon them, such as bankruptcy, outstanding debts, etc. Because people aren’t held responsible for their mistakes anymore, and surely their situation can be blamed on someone/something else

  12. Mike Cooley

    Ha. Maybe so but that brings its own set of problems. I’m a libertarian so I can’t stand either of the big two.

    • JonDawg

      I also adhere to the Libertarian (smidge to the right, however) way of thinking also. As far as my Dawgs go, I couldn’t care less if all the players voted Dem, I don’t watch college football to gain knowledge on politics, nor do I watch political commentary to see hard-nosed runs, and beautifully set-up screens (Benghazi notwithstanding)

  13. 69Dawg

    Paying them aside, the fact that all of the athletes are not covered by some sort of worker’s compensation insurance furnished by the school is the worst problem to me. Even the walk-on’s should be protected from a life altering injury. The NCAA could have mandated that years ago and that’s why I think that whatever happens to the NCAA is long overdue. Conley is a special player and I hope he can go to the next level and keep representing UGA.

  14. They players are currently being paid – and their compensation is tax free. A scholarship has tremendous value – and even differing value depending on the school and whether you are an in or out of state athlete.

    All of that said, I think their pay should be increased. The question is how much? And since the Senator is quite adamantly opposed to the expansion creep of a D1 playoff – I do wonder, if he were for increasing the players pay, what amount would be enough today? And what if tomorrow’s players don’t think what today’s players accepted is enough? At what amount does it end? $500 per month? $1000 per month? $2000 per month? At what point do players stop complaining about wearing two year old jeans and start complaining that they need a car? Or an apartment with no roommates?

    I’ve got problem with increasing player pay. I do believe that enough will never be enough in some players eyes.

    • I’d be perfectly fine just letting these kids get what they can for their names and likenesses, just like everyone else in this country can.

      • I think that is certainly fair. And reasonable.

      • The problem with that is, it becomes a your booster against my booster game. Any guess who might be willing to give these kids the most for their name and likeness? Perhaps Oregon with Phil Knight having a certain reason to be interested. I bet you a few carpet companies that love Tennessee could use some new talent for their commercials. Or Texas, Alabama, Auburn, etc where there are wealthy boosters who would have no problem overpaying someone to be in their company commercials.

  15. Skeptic Dawg

    Yes, I will struggle to root for the players supporting unionization. While their intentions may be well founded, the outcome will devastating to college football. If this were solely based upon healthcare (while enrolled in a university and on a roster), I would support it 100%. The problem lies in the multiple hands awaiting payment from the schools, conferences, and NCAA (players of all sports, lawyers). I find myself yearning for the days of the true “student-athlete”.

    • Emerging from Allie

      Just curious … So if a player suffers a serious injury, one that requires extensive treatment well past his playing days, while competing or practicing for UGA, you think their coverage should be cut off the day they graduate (or cease attending)?

      You can follow and support true student-athletes in college football. It’s called Division III. The trade-off is you have to watch shitty football.

  16. Normaltown Mike

    Well I for one support ALL student athletes being treated better.

    Why should the football players be the only ones to receive extra benefits for their achievements. The $100 handshakes, gift bags from bowl committees, free apparel from local merchants, drinks on the house at local watering holes. Plus the “tutoring” and jock-sniffing teachers that make sure the star football players make the grade. What’s more, the doors opened to a football letterman can pay dividends for decades, to say nothing of the skirts one attracts for being a UGA football player.

    Of course it’s a day later and a dollar short for past Bulldog greats like Coco Miller, Teresa Edwards, Saudia Rountree, Lori Strong and Kat Ding.

    But shouldn’t Georgia’s most decorated athlete ever (gymnast Courtney Kupets of course) have received more than a mere scholarship?

    • Dawgfan Will

      This would be solved by the Senator’s recommendation that they get to keep whatever compensation they can make off their names. Seems like a common sense solution to me.

  17. americusdawg

    I don’t have an opinion on the unionization issue. I figure that I don’t have any control over it, unless it comes to some kind of vote that includes me. It’s gonna work itself out (one way or the other) and I’ll just have to deal with it. As some others have stated above, the world (and the college football landscape) is constantly evolving and, inevitably, changes are coming and will continue to come.


    We don’t get fooled again!
    — insert long scream of “YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHH”—
    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

  18. Rebar

    It won’t affect the way I feel about them, they’re the Georgia Bulldawgs!

  19. DawgPhan

    I don’t know if these kids should be paid or what they should be paid but I do know they should have the ability to find out.