- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Jeremy Bloom persists in his worthy quest to challenge the plantation system of the NCAA.

Bloom is the kick return specialist with the University of Colorado football team who has been denied the fundamental right to capitalize on his status as a world-class moguls skier.

In the sick, sick, sick culture of the NCAA, Bloom is obligated to preserve the sanctity of his amateur standing, as if there is something noble and pure about being an amateur.

Bloom is fighting this disgusting institution on two fronts, in the courtroom and in the political arena.

He has composed a “Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights,” which he plans to introduce to state senators nationwide in the hope that compelling legislation will follow.

The fight is long overdue, considering the morally bankrupt endeavor of the NCAA.

The all-seeing, all-knowing NCAA has a long and insulting history of being an un-American institution, of practicing a form of Soviet-style collectivism.

It should have no right to tell Bloom what he can or can’t do with his skiing career.

How would the NCAA respond to Bloom being an artist looking to sell his paintings to the highest bidder? The NCAA probably has a rule somewhere that specifically addresses the inner Picasso lurking inside the bodies of its meal tickets.

This is really twisted stuff in the land of licensed goods.

The NCAA is hardly against the principle of money. In fact, the governing body makes gobs of it in Division I football and basketball while throwing the athletes the bone of a scholarship, a limited gesture that often is not utilized by the recipient.

All too many athletes are not in college to expand their minds. They are there to increase their chances of securing employment in the NFL or NBA, however small the chance is for most. They do not find out the truth until they are out on the streets with an academic background in remedial reading, badminton appreciation and preferential treatment.

No one objects too strenuously to this wink-and-nod process, because the embarrassing details are hidden from view most of the time. The public mostly cheers the rent-a-players, and the national press mostly chronicles the importance of the next biggest game ever.

The NCAA suits, both the ones based in Indianapolis and the ones employed with the member institutions, have no shame, not a trace of dignity. If they did, they would leave this nefarious undertaking and find a new line of work. Sweeping sidewalks for a living would be several steps up in class from telling lies.

The value of amateurism is one lie, borrowed long ago from the British snobs who implemented the concept as a means to eliminate the work-bound riffraff from their fun and games.

We have refined the practice, of course. We even have encouraged the riffraff to join the fun, so long as they don’t beat up too many coeds. Even frauds have limits, depending on the quality of the athlete.

The athlete who mangles the English language in television interviews is perfectly acceptable, if not a multicultural celebration of diversity and impeccable scholarship.

The coaches, many of whom belong in the telemarketing business, justify their six-figure deals with a plethora of nauseating tales. Sometimes they are surrogate fathers. Sometimes they are social workers. Sometimes they are saving lives.

They are so full of it, so full of themselves.

They can’t help it. They are conditioned to believe in the life-affirming power of a couple of victories. Go ahead, give them a new contract and watch them make fools of themselves on the sideline. What a racket. Even loan sharks have to make an initial investment in their suckers. The NCAA hooks its indentured servants with promises of athletic glory.

In a better world, television and newspapers would ignore the two entertainment vehicles of the NCAA, and college presidents then would be able to tame the athletic monster.

We have Bloom instead, taking the fight to a bloated organization that specializes in hypocrisy and corruption and refuses to join the free world.

Bloom has at least one supporter in the California Assembly, state Sen. Kevin Murray, a Democrat from Los Angeles whose bill would improve the rights and financial standing of those he compares to sharecroppers.

Good for Murray. Good for Bloom.

Here’s to you in your important struggle against the NCAA Bolsheviks.

They are oppressors. They are exploiters.

They are a cancer who need to be excised from America’s great sports body.

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