NCAA Denies Colorado Athlete Endorsement MoneyBy Zach Phillips
University of Colorado wide receiver and kick returner Jeremy Bloom is one of the nation’s top college football players. He is fast, tough, elusive, and displays a knack for creating big plays. However, Jeremy is better known for his skills on the ski slopes. Jeremy earned his fame as one of the world’s most talented skiers, winning multiple World Cup Moguls titles. Like most professional skiers, Jeremy earned endorsement contracts for skiing equipment and apparel. However, upon his enrollment at the University of Colorado, Jeremy was ordered by the NCAA to give up the money from endorsements or face a ban from college athletics. The NCAA bylaws state that no athlete can receive payment for participating in his/her respective sport. However, Bloom is earning no money whatsoever for his contributions as a football player (the only sport in which he competes in college), and his skiing career was established long prior to his enrollment at Colorado as a football player. Of course, the law itself is understandable in that it aims to protect the integrity of college athletics as an entirely amateur sport; it is the opinion of this sportswriter that it would be detrimental to collegiate sports in general if athletes were allowed to receive money for their contributions, forgetting for a minute that most receive thousands of dollars annually a la athletic scholarships, but that is an argument for another time. The problem is, Jeremy Bloom does not ski for the Colorado Buffaloes, and therefore what money he earns from his career as a skier should not be under the jurisdiction of the NCAA; also, the endorsement money he which he receives from sponsors is vital to the continuance of his career as a top-shelf professional skier; the costs of lift tickets, equipment, training, and a variety of other activities which are absolutely critical to a person’s success as a skier do not come cheap. Why should Jeremy’s non-collegiate career as a skier be treated any differently from any other athlete’s non-collegiate career? Say, for instance, an athlete who works for a moving company lifting heavy objects; this person is using his God-given physical ability to perform a job and receive compensation. So, under the argument that the NCAA is employing, should not this person be subject to the same laws and standards as Jeremy Bloom and be forced to give up their salary? Of course not! If Jeremy Bloom was earning endorsement money for promoting Nike football shoes or Adidas receiver gloves, for example, then the NCAA would be wrong not to step in; but why should the NCAA be allowed to decide how Bloom makes his money outside of the sport in which he competes at the collegiate level? Bloom had a pre-established career in skiing prior to his signing with the Buffaloes, and it would be absurd to ask him to his career on hold to satisfy the entirely arcane and outdated bylaws of the NCAA. Consider also the case fo former Iowa football player and track star Tim Dwight, surrently of the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers. After leaving school to enter the annal NFL Entry Draft, Dwight was allowed to continue to compete collegiatley as a sprinter, as he still had a year of college eligiblity remaining, and was earning no endorsement money. Endoresments are how skiiers get paid; just because Tim Dwight was earning his money in some way other than endoresements, the fact that he was competeing professionally in a sport should, under the same standards the the NCAA is setting in the Jeremy Bloom matter, have caused him to become ineligible for collegiate competition. In closing, the NCAA is right in its assertion that the integrity of college athletics must be maintained, but if the integrity is not being threatened, then what cause is there for the NCAA to try and dictate how athletes earn money outside of college athletics? Hopefully, for the sake of Jeremy Bloom, the Colorado Buffaloes, the world of free-style skiing, and college athletics in general, the NCAA will come to its senses and allow Jeremy to continue both of his brilliant athletic careers.