|Thursday, August 15
Updated: August 17, 10:22 PM ET
Judge rules against Bloom in eligibility case
By Darren Rovell
A Boulder, Colo., district court judge denied Jeremy Bloom's injunction request against the NCAA on Thursday, forcing him to choose between playing football at the University of Colorado or continuing to pursue a professional skiing career that brings with it endorsements and a potential television career.
"The judge didn't think that our case had enough legal merit," Bloom's attorney, Peter Rush, said. "He also thought that public interest was against Jeremy because NCAA Bylaw 19.8 would put Colorado in a position of risk."
Bloom, 20, was a standout high school wide receiver who deferred his enrollment at Colorado for a year to compete as a mogul skier at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics.
"I don't know what I'm going to do yet," Bloom told ESPN.com. "The first step is to talk to my attorneys, the University of Colorado, and my family and try to see all my options and make a decision from there."
Bloom, who scored two touchdowns in Colorado's scrimmage on Saturday, expects to announce his decision Monday.
Even with the injunction, it is uncertain whether Colorado would have let Bloom play for the Buffaloes for fear of violating Bylaw 19.8. If Bloom was granted the injunction, but the NCAA won an appeal, Colorado would risk forfeiting games in which Bloom played. The NCAA Management Council also has the authority to strike team victories, to penalize the school by preventing them from attending any number of NCAA championships and to access financial penalties, including the possible forfeiting of the school's share of television revenue.
"We did everything we could to support Jeremy," said Joanne McDevitt, legal counsel for the University of Colorado, which was forced to join the NCAA as a co-defendant last week. "We filed every waiver we possibly could on the behalf of this unique and outstanding young man. At this point, we will abide by the court's order, and everything is now up to Jeremy."
NCAA rules allow a player to earn a salary from a professional sport while playing another sport in college, but athletes are prohibited from endorsing products based on their athletic ability. Bloom was allowed to practice with Colorado's football team since he enrolled on Aug. 8, but the NCAA said he would have to get rid of all of his endorsements within weeks.
"It's extremely disappointing for me," Bloom said. "These are my childhood dreams that I was able to pursue and work a lifetime for and when your future is put in other people's hands and it gets denied, it's very difficult. But I stood up for myself and what I believe in and I'm proud of that."
Bloom's lawyers argued that his endorsements were from skiing and not football, and stressed that skiers depend on endorsements and not salaries as a source of income. They said they also sought to point out the hypocrisy of the NCAA, which allows universities to sell the sponsorship on their football uniforms to shoe and apparel companies, but wouldn't let Bloom get paid to wear his own gear.
"We're obviously pleased with the decision," said NCAA spokesman Wally Renfro. "At issue in this case was whether the NCAA has the right to set standards that define amateurism and the court agreed that the NCAA has the right to do that."
Bloom also wanted to pursue a television career while playing college football, but NCAA rules stipulated that he cannot be compensated for any media appearances and they have to be within 30 miles of campus.
"I think this will embolden the NCAA to be even less flexible," Rush said.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at email@example.com