Bloom to quit football if appeal fails

Updated: July 18, 2004, 6:17 PM ET
Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- After his last legal defeat, Jeremy Bloom has given up on trying to get the courts to force the NCAA to let him play college football while collecting endorsement income as a professional skier.

One final appeal is pending, however. The University of Colorado Office of Compliance said it soon will ask the NCAA to grant a waiver to Bloom, a world champion freestyle skier who hopes to compete in the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

If he is denied again, Bloom will give up football, said his father, Larry Bloom.

"If they don't have some understanding on this appeal, Jeremy Bloom's collegiate football career will be over," Larry Bloom said. "And we're not holding our breaths."

The younger Bloom's most recent setback was in May, when the Colorado Court of Appeals denied his request for an injunction that would have allowed him to collect endorsements and play college football while his lawsuit against the NCAA proceeded.

The appeals court agreed with a lower court that Bloom failed to show he would probably win the lawsuit. The court said it's up to the NCAA to decide whether Bloom could collect endorsements and play football.

Bloom could have asked the appeals court to reconsider its decision or sought a review by the Colorado Supreme Court. He decided against that, said his attorney, Jim Smittkamp.

"Frankly, Jeremy said, 'I don't want to go this route any more,' " Smittkamp said. "We have dismissed the lawsuit and stopped."

Bloom, who played two seasons as a wideout for Colorado, started accepting endorsement money last winter while his challenge against the NCAA continued.

CU football coach Gary Barnett recently expressed doubt that Bloom would return for his junior season.

CU compliance office official Lindsey Babcock said Bloom will not be allowed to practice until a final ruling is issued by the NCAA.

The university has set an Aug. 8 deadline for football certifications. The team's first practice is Aug. 9.

Meanwhile, Bloom has been enrolled at CU in summer school.

"I can tell you if this is what happens, he truly is sad that the ability to play for this team has been taken away from him," Larry Bloom said.

The NCAA has said its rules clearly prohibit earning endorsement money, though student-athletes can earn a salary as a professional athlete in a different sport.

In two seasons at CU, Bloom caught 24 passes for 458 yards and two touchdowns. Last fall, he returned 44 punts for 625 yards and two TDs, and returned 24 kickoffs for 589 yards and one TD.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press