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BLOOM TO INK SKI ENDORSEMENTS, PURSUE FOOTBALL

Jan 19, 2004

BOULDER — University of Colorado wide receiver and U.S. Ski Team member Jeremy Bloom announced Monday that he will begin to receive endorsements to help enhance his skiing career, but also that he plans to be back on the field for the Buffaloes in the 2004 season to play football.

            "As a nine year old, I dreamed of winning a gold medal for our country in the Winter Olympics," Bloom stated during an afternoon press conference at the Dal Ward Athletic Center.  "Unfortunately, at this point in time, I can no longer realistically attempt to follow this dream and achieve this goal with the restrictions that exist under the current NCAA bylaws. 

            "In order to put myself in the best position to turn this dream into reality," he continued, with offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and receivers coach Ted Gilmore by his side, "I must have funds to pay for expenses that include private coaching, athletic trainers, specialized training programs, ski techs, dietary supplements and travel expenses. 

"Consequently, I have made the decision to start accepting ski related endorsements.  It is also my intent to continue my education at the University of Colorado and return to the football field for my junior season."

Having forgone skiing endorsements over the past two years so he could play football, Bloom noted that it is time a solution be made to accommodate his rare situation.  The 5-foot-9, 175-pound moguls skier said that the NCAA must acknowledge him as a professional skier, but solely regulate what he does in college, and not on the slopes.

"The NCAA has not allowed me to be a professional skier for two years now," Bloom continued.  "I only want what is fair, for the NCAA to control my amateur career and the International Olympic Committee to control my ski career.  I hope that the NCAA will finally realize that my desire to win in skiing is not criminal, and that my pursuit for a gold medal doesn't warrant expulsion."

Knowing specifically that the NCAA may not change its regulations and allow him to receive money for his Olympic endeavors, Bloom is well aware that he may never play football again.  Instead, all he is asking for is the NCAA to make a decision and allow him to achieve two things he desires more than anything – a gold medal and National Championship. 

"I have never been a quitter and I would never turn my back on the CU football program or my teammates," said Bloom, who placed ninth in the 2002 Olympics before he played for CU.  "My desire to play college football is equally strong as my desire to win an Olympic gold medal.  The unfortunate side of this is that the NCAA possesses the power to kick me off the football field and take my scholarship away, even though their own rulebook states that an amateur student-athlete can simultaneously be a professional in another sport."

The main point that Bloom wants all his supporters to understand is that he "will not willingly leave college football."  He also believes that, "If the NCAA truly cares about student-athletes, then there is no reason why they should attempt to stand in my way of winning a gold medal for our country.  If they don't, they will have to kick me out.

"I'm putting it all on the line and standing up for what I believe.  It's very tough knowing that I might never play here again, and I'm only a sophomore," Bloom firmly stated.  "But this is my decision and no one else's.  It's harder for them (the NCAA) to kick me out instead of me to just stand here and say that I'm leaving.  I think we'd like to work together instead of beating each other up; we've had enough of that."

What Bloom hopes is that the NCAA will create a rule similar to the one where minor league baseball players are allowed to play college football.  Bloom believes that the reason this is permitted is because many athletes have played football and baseball simultaneously for so long.  But, since he is a skier who plays football – and a football player who skies – Bloom thinks the NCAA isn't really sure what to do.

And his coaches agree, as they hope a solution will be worked out so Bloom can succeed in doing everything he is good at, and more importantly, everything he loves.

"I'm confident (that the NCAA will support Bloom) because there is something about this situation that doesn't feel right," Watson stated at the conference.  "We can just hope that they have a clear head and see what they're doing.  It's hard to ever think of (Bloom) not being here with us again because he's just a sophomore."

But even while it was difficult for Bloom to make a decision and leave his fate in the hands of the NCAA, the Colorado native (Loveland) said he has received outstanding support from all his family, teammates, friends, fans, and especially, his coaches. 

"The support from day one has been overwhelming," said Bloom, who finished second and sixth, respectively, in his last two World Cup events after ending the football season against Nebraska two months ago.  "(My coaches) have never pressured me or advised me unless I asked them too.  Everything throughout this whole process has been great."

CU head coach Gary Barnett, who is on the road recruiting in New Orleans this week, said from a phone interview that,  "I'm not surprised at Jeremy's desire to play another year because of his love of the game and his love for his teammates.  I just hope that everything can be worked so this can happen."

  And should this aspiration come true, Bloom's coaches said they would expect him to continue his progression and become an even bigger part of the Buffs' attack.  With two years of experience under his belt, Bloom could once again provide a spark in an offense that lost three of its top receivers to graduation.

"Jeremy obviously got a lot of valuable experience this year," Watson said.  "We got him more into the offense.  With D.J. (Hackett) and Derek (McCoy) and (John) Donahoe leaving, it's the responsibility of those guys who are still here to play well.  Obviously Jeremy has all the ability and experience to do that."

In 2003, Bloom reeled in 22 catches for 356 yards and one touchdown, a long of 81 yards at Florida State.  He successfully earned a bigger role on offense in just his second year, as he only had two receptions for 102 yards during his freshman campaign. 

On special teams in 2003, where he is most dangerous as a return man, Bloom fielded 24 punts for 289 yards (12.0 average), with a long of 37.  For his career, he has 44 punt returns for 625 yards (14.2 average) and two scores.  As CU's main kick return specialist this past season, he had 24 attempts for 589 yards (24.5 average), including one touchdown for 88 yards against Kansas State.  Bloom also rushed the ball 10 times for 52 yards, mostly on reverse plays.

When asked if he regrets the decision he made to play football during the past two years and pass up the money, Bloom quickly replied: "Of all the endorsements and money I have given up, looking back, none of it matters because of the memories I've had here – out there on that football field.  I am hopeful here, hopeful that all this can be worked out and that everybody can work together."

Concluding in his statement, he added: "I sincerely look forward to being a part of the 2004 CU football team and our pursuit to win the Big 12 Conference title."

 

 

JEREMY BLOOM (COMPLETE STATEMENT)

 

            University of Colorado sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Bloom's statement regarding his collegiate football future as it relates to his pursuit of a gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics (he is a moguls skier on the U.S. Ski Team):

 

"As a nine year old, I dreamed of winning a gold medal for our country in the Winter Olympics.  Unfortunately, at this point in time, I can no longer realistically attempt to follow this dream and achieve this goal with the restrictions that exist under the current NCAA bylaws. 

 

"In order to put myself in the best position to turn this dream into reality, I must have funds to pay for expenses that include private coaching, athletic trainers, specialized training programs, ski techs, dietary supplements and travel expenses. 

"Consequently, I have made the decision to start accepting ski related endorsements.  It is also my intent to continue my education at the University of Colorado and return to the football field for my junior season. 

 

"I have never been a quitter and I would never turn my back on the CU football program or my teammates.  My desire to play college football is equally strong as my desire to win an Olympic gold medal.  The unfortunate side of this is that the NCAA possesses the power to kick me off the football field and take my scholarship away, even though their own rulebook states that an amateur student-athlete can simultaneously be a professional in another sport. 

 

"The NCAA has not allowed me to be a professional skier for two years now.  I only want what is fair, for the NCAA to control my amateur career and the International Olympic Committee to control my ski career.  I hope that the NCAA will finally realize that my desire to win in skiing is not criminal, and that my pursuit for a gold medal doesn't warrant expulsion. 

 

"I want everyone to know that I will not willingly leave college football.  If the NCAA truly cares about student-athletes, then there is no reason why they should attempt to stand in my way of winning a gold medal for our country.  If they don't, they will have to kick me out.  I sincerely look forward to being a part of the 2004 CU football team and our pursuit to win the Big 12 Conference title."

 

 

Colorado Head Coach Gary Barnett

(Barnett is in New Orleans recruiting but issued the following statement)

"I'm not surprised at Jeremy's desire to play another year because of his love of the game and his love for his teammates.  I just hope that everything can be worked so this can happen."

--colorado football--