<
>

Bloom faces NCAA hurdle to playing football

The way Jeremy Bloom sees it, only one group of people can
derail his football and freestyle skiing adventure.

Unfortunately for Bloom, those people have put up a roadblock
more sizable than any mogul he's ever skied. They're the folks who
make the rules at the NCAA.

Bloom is a football player-turned-freestyle moguls skier from
Loveland, Colo., who delayed his enrollment at the University of
Colorado for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make the Olympics.

He overcame long odds to make it to Salt Lake City, and his
quick rise has turned him into more than just a nice story -- he's
also a prime medal contender in freestyle moguls, which are Feb. 12
in Park City. When his Olympic ride is over, he wants to play tight
end at Colorado, where a scholarship and playing time are awaiting
his arrival.

The hitch: NCAA bylaws demand that he set aside any endorsement
deals that might come out of his skiing success, lest Bloom violate
the organization's codes on amateurism.

"It doesn't seem really fair to me," Bloom said.

He points out that his Olympic sport, freestyle skiing, has
absolutely nothing to do with football, or any sport the NCAA
sanctions or plans to in the future. And never mind that the
average Olympic skier, even a gold-medal winner, has a very short
window in which to cash in on success and popularity.

"I want to be able to take advantage of the success I've had,"
Bloom said.

Should Bloom win the gold medal, he could earn well into six
figures, says his attorney, Michael Spencer. Silver, bronze or
less, and Bloom might make a decent haul, but surely nothing to set