Brand not open to meeting ... or compromise

5/21/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

BOULDER, Colo. -- The head of the NCAA rejected a request
Friday to meet with Colorado receiver Jeremy Bloom, who wants to
play football while simultaneously collecting endorsement money for
his skiing career.

NCAA president Myles Brand said a meeting would be inappropriate.

He also refused to discuss a compromise with Rep. Mark Udall,
D-Colo, who had asked the NCAA to exempt Bloom from rules barring
college athletes from collecting endorsement money.

Bloom began accepting endorsements in February, saying he needs
the money to pursue his dream of skiing for the United States in the 2006 Olympics.

He has said the NCAA must decide whether he will be allowed to
collect endorsement money or bar him from playing football. The
NCAA has said its rules are clear about barring endorsement money,
a stance upheld in court.

The NCAA said Friday that Bloom knew the consequences of
accepting endorsements, and noted all student-athletes must go
through the same process if found in violation of NCAA rules.

"To favor one student-athlete over all the others by meeting
with him and his congressman outside the normal process would not
be appropriate," Brand said in a written statement.

Bloom's father, Larry Bloom, said Thursday his son intends to
participate when fall practice begins in August, which could put
Colorado in an awkward situation.

Unless the NCAA grants an exemption in his case, Bloom could
enroll in summer classes and have Colorado declare him ineligible.
The school would then report Bloom's endorsement violations to the
NCAA and request reinstatement.

That would force an NCAA decision on whether Bloom can play.