- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Jeremy Bloom is merely the latest young American to learn that he is a glorified serf of the freedom-hating NCAA suits in Indianapolis.
Bloom has no legal right to sell his name, image and likeness to a company, so long as he is in the employ of the NCAA's football franchise in Boulder, Colo.
This leaves the all-knowing NCAA suits to exploit Bloom's niche-quality fame in whatever fashion they deem beneficial.
They can sell his Colorado football jersey to the masses or stick his mug on an overpriced football program. Or they can solicit his participation in one of their propaganda films.
Bloom can't make a penny off any of it. He even can't make a penny off his celebrity in freestyle skiing.
Bloom is a world-class freestyle skier who competed in the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He is something of a name in the sport, something of a face who recently signed a modeling contract with Tommy Hilfiger. He also was having discussions with MTV and Nickelodeon to host a show.
All this was a no-no with the NCAA suits. The purity of the game was at stake, as purity is defined down in college football.
Bloom's position, if permitted, would have sent the wrong message to the other serfs of the NCAA.
One of these years, some of those Heisman Trophy candidates could object to their images being packaged and sold around the nation in exchange for a pat on the head. The NCAA suits could not accept that. They need the money to live in a style befitting their importance.
No, they don't keep all the money. They spread it around to the non-revenue have-nots and to their member institutions at the Division II and III levels. They are regular old philanthropists.
By this account, the non-scholarship athletes at Catholic University live large because of the Robin Hood-like mind-set of the NCAA suits.
You should have seen how Catholic's basketball players were wined and dined in Salem, Va., in 2001, when they won the Division III national championship.
It was first class. The team stayed at a very nice budget motel, with free towel service, and it must have cost the NCAA a tidy sum to rent the 4,500-seat Salem Civic Center.
The NCAA suits, as always, know what is best. Their idea of an idea is to pass another rule or form another committee or conduct another 10-year study.
Trust them and try not to snicker.
They have made a mess with their onerous rules and bureaucracy. They cling to a plethora of false notions, while selling their properties, the de facto minor leagues of the NFL and NBA, to the highest bidders.
Their operation reeks of plantation-like professionalism. Their blunt instrument is the so-called amateur standing of the "student-athlete." It was used against a football player in Boulder this week. Next week it will be used against someone else.
Bloom filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, only to be denied an injunction by a judge in Boulder District Court last Thursday. He may appeal the ruling after announcing his intentions to stay with the Colorado football program yesterday and dismissing the possibly one-time-only financial opportunities that were available to him.
As he knows only too well, those opportunities might not be there the next time the Winter Games roll around. Worse, he might not be there, given football's high injury rate. Skiers, like football players, are partial to sound knees.
As usual, the NCAA suits were indifferent to the unique circumstances of the case. A rule is a rule, and they have a million rules. They make it up as they go along, and they will keep making it up until the court system eventually smacks them down.
Funny, Bloom would be a fairly useful propaganda tool of the NCAA suits if encouraged to be all he could be. He is bright, industrious and appeals to a different demographic.
In the upside-down thought process of the NCAA, however, Bloom is too good for his own good.

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