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Bloom not giving up hope he'll play

8/10/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

BOULDER, Colo. -- Jeremy Bloom ran a few routes, caught a
few passes and returned a few punts.

It was a day he never thought he'd experience again.

Still awaiting word on his eligibility for this season, Bloom
went ahead and practiced with his teammates on the first day of
Colorado's summer camp.

"To be out here on the field, to go to meetings, this is
totally unexpected," Bloom said Monday. "I really didn't know
that this was a real reality until probably a week and a half
ago."

Bloom, a junior receiver, has been battling the NCAA for over
two years about whether he can accept endorsement money as a
professional skier and still keep his eligibility to play college
football.

The world champion freestyle skier had tried to sue the NCAA for
not letting him accept endorsement money while training for the
2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Bloom started accepting endorsement money last winter and had
all but given up hope on being able to play college football when
the Colorado Court of Appeals denied his request for an injunction
in May.

But Bloom's outlook for this season brightened last week when he
learned the NCAA would take a closer look at his latest waiver
request. Bloom wouldn't give details, but said he sent some forms
to the NCAA on Monday and expects to hear a decision as early as
Tuesday.

"I never did (give up). I was always planning on waiting to
find out from the NCAA," Bloom said. "If I didn't hear anything,
play. It's actually surprising that I haven't heard up until this
point. So I'm just approaching the season like I'll be part of the
team and turn the focus and get ready."

Coach Gary Barnett was just as optimistic.

"I just think both sides probably ended up deciding that maybe
this is the best thing for college football and both sides are
probably bending a little bit I would imagine," Barnett said. "I
don't know any of the details of it. That's speculation, but that's
what it feels like to me as I hear stuff going back and forth."

In two seasons at Colorado, Bloom caught 24 passes for 458 yards
and two touchdowns and became a standout kick returner. Last fall,
he returned 44 punts for 625 yards and two TDs and returned 24
kickoffs for 589 yards and one TD.

If declared eligible, Bloom is expected to compete for a
starting spot this season.

"He's going to do great job for us this season," Colorado
quarterback Joel Klatt said. "He's a great, great wide receiver
and he's a great talent. Anytime you can bring a guy with that kind
of world-class athleticism onto your team, it's going to help you
out."