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Friday, January 25, 2002
Updated: February 6, 5:34 PM ET
Bloom faces NCAA hurdle to playing football

Associated Press

The way Jeremy Bloom sees it, only one group of people can derail his football and freestyle skiing adventure.

Unfortunately for Bloom, those people have put up a roadblock more sizable than any mogul he's ever skied. They're the folks who make the rules at the NCAA.

Bloom is a football player-turned-freestyle moguls skier from Loveland, Colo., who delayed his enrollment at the University of Colorado for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make the Olympics.

He overcame long odds to make it to Salt Lake City, and his quick rise has turned him into more than just a nice story -- he's also a prime medal contender in freestyle moguls, which are Feb. 12 in Park City. When his Olympic ride is over, he wants to play tight end at Colorado, where a scholarship and playing time are awaiting his arrival.

The hitch: NCAA bylaws demand that he set aside any endorsement deals that might come out of his skiing success, lest Bloom violate the organization's codes on amateurism.

"It doesn't seem really fair to me," Bloom said.

He points out that his Olympic sport, freestyle skiing, has absolutely nothing to do with football, or any sport the NCAA sanctions or plans to in the future. And never mind that the average Olympic skier, even a gold-medal winner, has a very short window in which to cash in on success and popularity.

"I want to be able to take advantage of the success I've had," Bloom said.

Should Bloom win the gold medal, he could earn well into six figures, says his attorney, Michael Spencer. Silver, bronze or less, and Bloom might make a decent haul, but surely nothing to set