Feb 272002

Not everything is black and white. Sometimes, there is a gray area.

The NCAA has rules and regulations about college players endorsing products, getting free products from companies or taking any money at all for what they do on the field.

This is completely understandable, and I agree with this logic.

But there is such a thing as over-regulation and the NCAA does it well.

Recently, Jeremy Bloom; U.S. Olympic mogul skier, University of Colorado football player and son of CSU sex professor Larry Bloom, was denied by the NCAA the chance to accept any endorsements he might have been offered following his Olympic appearance.


The NCAA says it’s simple. The NCAA has a longstanding ban on athletes accepting endorsement money. Period. The rule isn’t sport specific, they say.

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

I would understand if he was planning on using his status as a CU football player to make money. If he was swishing down the slopes in a commercial that went something like, “After a tough day of NCAA athletic competition, I enjoy skiing on Volant skis and bindings.” – that would be one thing. That would be a blatant violation of the rules and would be unacceptable.

But this is indeed a special case.

Bloom overcame long odds to make the U.S. Olympic team. He delayed his entrance into college so he could have a chance to realize his once-in-a-lifetime goal, and he did so with CU’s blessing.

He then beat the odds and made it to the top of his sport, and now the NCAA says that he cannot reap the benefits of all his hard work? That is truly ridiculous.

The NCAA should look at cases like this individually and decide which situations warrant leniency and which should be thrown out. Say there is a college basketball player who also happens to be a world-class Tiddley Winks player. He should be able to endorse Tiddley Wink-related products, since basketball and winks are completely independent of each other.

Bloom’s Olympic sport, freestyle skiing, has absolutely nothing to do with football or any sport the NCAA sanctions or plans to in the future. Why should he not be allowed to endorse products that have nothing to do with CU, football, the NCAA or college in general? Well, the NCAA argues that if they allow Bloom to accept money for skiing endorsements, they would have to let everyone accept money for endorsements.

Yeah, well it doesn’t exactly work like that. Rare is the college athlete that has endorsement power by doing something other than what they do on the field. It’s not like there are thousands of U.S. Olympic skier/football players in college that the NCAA has to worry about. There is one. The NCAA should be able to make an exception in this case.

But they won’t.

The case is under review, but the NCAA has already made their stance on this issue known. They will not bend; the rules are in the book in plain black and white.

Too bad they don’t know there is a gray area once in a while.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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