Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Colorado appeals NCAA ruling against Bloom
College football notebook
By John Marshall
The Associated Press
BOULDER, Colo. - Colorado officials believed they had a plan that would allow Jeremy Bloom to accept skiing endorsements and still play college football.
Once again, the NCAA wasn't buying it.
Sticking to the position that college athletes can't accept endorsement money and still keep their eligibility, the NCAA rejected Bloom's latest request Tuesday. Colorado has filed an appeal on the decision, but the setback means the two-sport star will likely have to stick with skiing.
"It's a sad day, I think," Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. "I think it's a really sad day that the NCAA takes a stand like this and can't be flexible enough and tolerant enough to deal with individual differences. They seem to be situational in some of these things and that's the way it is."
Bloom, a junior, has been battling with the NCAA over his eligibility for over two years.
A world champion freestyle skier, Bloom tried to sue the NCAA for not letting him accept endorsement money while training for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Saying he could no longer afford to train without financial support, Bloom started accepting money from sponsors last winter and had all but given up hope of playing college football when the Colorado Court of Appeals denied his request for an injunction in May.
Bloom's outlook changed about two weeks ago with a new waiver request that led the NCAA to ask for several more documents from Bloom and the university.
The waiver was believed to be similar to an agreement former Iowa football player Tim Dwight reached with the NCAA in 1999. Dwight played for the Atlanta Falcons during the 1998 NFL season, but was allowed to retain his track eligibility after paying back endorsement money.
The NCAA has said the two cases are different because Dwight stopped receiving endorsement money during the reinstatement process.
Bloom has maintained the only way he can generate enough money to compete is through sponsorships since he does not receive a salary as a professional skier. Under NCAA rules, collegiate athletes are allowed to receive salaries as professionals in other sports but can't receive endorsement money.
"On matters of amateurism, the colleges and universities in the NCAA have made it clear: student-athletes are not permitted to endorse products and retain their eligibility," said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for membership services. "Twice Mr. Bloom asked the NCAA whether he could accept endorsements, and twice he was told it was impermissible and would violate NCAA rules. Bloom then pursued options through the Colorado legal system to set aside the NCAA rules. Again, he was told 'No' twice by the courts.
"And still, he entered into contracts to endorse products, in violation of NCAA rules."
Bloom practiced with Colorado the first five days this season before heading to Chile for a camp with the U.S. Ski Team on Sunday. He hoped to return to Boulder if the NCAA ruled in his favor, but will now stay with the ski team.
"I am shocked and saddened by the NCAA's decision," Bloom said in a statement through Colorado's media relations department.
Barnett said he wasn't surprised by the decision, but hopes it will lead to change within the NCAA.
"Probably this will turn everybody's head and they will make a better decision next time, and Jeremy will have been the one who started it," Barnett said. "I think it's too bad that the NCAA misses this opportunity."
The speedy Bloom was expected to have a huge impact on Colorado's program over the next two years.
He was expected to compete for a starting spot this season and has already proven to be a superb kick returner. Bloom is second on Colorado's all-time list with five touchdowns of 75 yards or longer and last year he returned 44 punts for 625 yards and two TDs and returned 24 kickoffs for 589 yards and one TD.
Bloom also caught 24 passes for 458 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore.
Preseason Top 25
The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press preseason college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, 2003 records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and final ranking:
Others receiving votes: Louisville 125, Nebraska 112, N.C. State 76, Memphis 56, Boise St. 47, TCU 39, Toledo 33, Oregon St. 29, Washington St. 24, Fresno St. 13, Oklahoma St. 13, Alabama 12, Hawaii 11, Boston College 7, N. Illinois 7, Texas Tech 7, Marshall 6, Mississippi 6, Southern Miss. 6, Virginia Tech 6, Georgia Tech 5, Miami (Ohio) 4, South Carolina 4, Arkansas 3, Texas A&M 3, Bowling Green 2, Connecticut 1, North Texas 1, Notre Dame 1, Penn St. 1.
|1. Southern Cal (48)||12-1||1,603||1|
|2. Oklahoma (11)||12-2||1,529||3|
|3. Georgia (5)||11-3||1,480||7|
|4. LSU (1)||13-1||1,446||2|
|5. Florida St.||10-3||1,291||11|
|9. Ohio St.||11-2||1,005||4|
|10. West Virginia||8-5||937||-|
|12. Kansas St.||11-4||763||14|
AP Preseason No. 1s
x-won national championship
*Polls started in 1950
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