After courtroom loss, Bloom must make a call
Finally, it’s decision time for Jeremy Bloom.
On Thursday, a judge ruled that Bloom – probably the best mogul skier ever to come out of Team Breckenridge – could not play football at the University of Colorado while suing the NCAA.
Bloom is at a crossroads in his young life, and he was hoping to go straight ahead, to blaze his own path. Thursday’s ruling makes that path nearly impassable. Now Bloom must make a call. Will it be skiing or football?
The 20-year-old is suing to protect the rewards his Olympic skiing career has afforded him (e.g. a Tommy Hilfiger modeling contract and potential acting jobs) while also playing football for the Buffaloes.
The NCAA has rules against its athletes endorsing products based on their athletic ability. It has no problem with Bloom’s skiing. It just can’t have companies giving him money because of it.
On the surface, this is a David-vs.-Goliath case. It’s one kid fighting tooth and nail for what he thinks he deserves against a behemoth organization with archaic, some would say hypocritical, rules.
But Bloom is not a traditional David.
Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too. Before last season, Bloom decided to put off college football for a chance to compete in the Salt Lake City Olympics. Although the Olympics didn’t go as planned – he placed ninth – it still seems he made the right decision. He finished the year with an overall World Cup mogul title and a national championship and his stock at CU never fell.
With the Olympics behind him, this figured to be the year Bloom focused on football. He’s a speedy receiver/kick returner who had a standout career at Loveland High School, and CU coach Gary Barnett has been anxious to get him on the field.
But early this summer Bloom re-evaluated his situation. His skiing success yielded a modeling contract with Hilfiger, and he apparently has people in his ear saying he has a future in acting.
Bloom’s football career most likely won’t go past Boulder. Those are just the odds. He could ski, model, act and accept equipment and clothing for the next four years, then try again at the Olympics.
But doing both sports at Bloom’s level would be almost impossible, and not only because the seasons overlap. Bloom knows this. But, at this point, he’s more concerned with maintaining his right to earn money and product than he is in making another Olympic run. It’s not football vs. skiing, it’s football vs. modeling and acting.
The NCAA says Bloom can’t have it both ways. And Thursday’s court ruling prevents him from joining the Buffaloes while he tries to prove it wrong.
So Bloom has a decision to make. If he goes ahead with the lawsuit he’ll lose another year of football. And who knows when the patience of Barnett and the Buffaloes will run thin.
In his dream world, Bloom would be a starting receiver at CU, playing in front of tens of thousands on Saturdays at Folsom Field, while at the same time appearing in print and television ads for Hilfiger and other companies interested in good-looking, well-spoken young athletes.
If that’s what Bloom wants, he’ll have to fight for it, because the old-guard NCAA, no stranger to lawsuits it, will battle him all the way.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at email@example.com.
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