No football for Bloom while taking ski endorsements
BOULDER, Colo. -- Jeremy Bloom's college football career is officially over.
The junior receiver lost a last-ditch effort to keep his college eligibility Tuesday when an NCAA panel turned down his appeal to be allowed to receive endorsements as a professional skier and still play football for Colorado.
"We're all really disappointed, even though we knew going into today there was only a small chance for reversal,'' Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. "Personally, I'm extremely disappointed in the lack of flexibility by the NCAA. I just hope the next group of youngsters that are out there currently participating in these extreme sports will somehow profit from Jeremy's experience.''
Bloom, the reigning world champion in freestyle moguls and a 2002 Olympian, has been battling the NCAA for two years. He started accepting endorsements last winter, claiming he can't afford to prepare for the 2006 Torino Olympics without financial support.
NCAA rules allow athletes to accept salaries as professionals in other sports, but they aren't allowed to accept money from sponsors. The NCAA has held firm in its stance, ruling last week that Bloom willfully violated NCAA rules by accepting endorsements.
Bloom, who is in Chile for a training camp with the U.S. National Ski Team, appealed the ruling last week, saying he owed it to himself and his teammates to exhaust all avenues before giving up.
The five-member NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee turned down the appeal after hearing presentations from Bloom, Colorado and the NCAA in a conference call. The NCAA did not release specifics of the decision.
"I'm just disappointed that we weren't able to get this approved for Jeremy,'' said Lindsey Babcock, Colorado's director of compliance. "He was tremendous to work with, and did a fantastic job on the conference call explaining his situation to the committee. We're sad for him, and all we can do is wish him the best in his skiing pursuits and in all his endeavors.''
Bloom, 22, was an exciting player for the Buffaloes with his speed and athleticism, finishing second on Colorado's career list with five touchdowns of 75 yards or longer. Last year, he returned 44 punts for 625 yards and two touchdowns and returned 24 kickoffs for 589 yards and one touchdown. Bloom also caught 24 passes for 458 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore.
Bloom was expected to have a bigger impact this season as one of just two returning players with a collegiate reception, but the Buffaloes will have to do without him now. He finished his football career with 24 receptions for 458 yards, with 625 yards on punt returns and 627 on kickoffs.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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