Former Colorado football player and Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom has introduced a program to help walk-on collegiate athletes.
On Wednesday, Integrate, led by Bloom, who is the CEO and co-founder, announced its “College Game Changers” sponsorship, which is “aimed at supporting walk-on student athletes who do not have access to traditional athletic scholarships or sponsorships,” according to a press release.
The program was created following the Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA’s restrictions on education-related benefits for college athletes was a violation of antitrust law. In response, NCAA voted this summer to allow student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL), effective July 1.
Over the next few years, Integrate will invest millions of dollars to support athletes “who exhibit qualities of performance, innovation, happiness, trust and radical candor.”
Bloom played football at CU from 2002-03 and was also a two-time Olympic skier.
For the Buffs, Bloom was an explosive player with four plays of 75 yards or more. A receiver, he caught a 94-yard touchdown pass and also returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns during his time with the Buffs. He was a fifth-round draft choice of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 2006.
Bloom’s collegiate career was cut short, however, because the NCAA would not allow him to play football while also making money off endorsements from his skiing career. He was a three-time World Champion moguls skier and competed in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics.
Following the 2002 Olympics, he battled the NCAA for two years to be able to play football while earning endorsement money. He lost his final appeal in 2004, forcing him to give up his junior and senior seasons with the Buffs. He has been an advocate for change within the NCAA over the years.
The Supreme Court ruling and the NCAA’s decision this summer have opened the door for collegiate athletes to play their sport and earn NIL money.
“As a longtime advocate against the exploitative practices of the NCAA and CEO of a marketing technology company for the past decade, I am acutely aware that denying college athletes the right to their name, image, and likeness in today’s global world of social media and digital advertising is out of touch and archaic,” Bloom said in a press release. “I’m excited that college athletes will now have the opportunity to reap the rewards of their hard work, and I’m doubly excited that my company, Integrate, will be supporting a diverse group of underserved college athletes in this new world.
“College is a time of opportunity and development, and no college athlete should be denied the financial or social support they need to pursue their dreams. At Integrate, we have a deep appreciation for people who have a high degree of grit and tenacity, and walk-on student-athletes are among the hardest working people in all of sports. We believe in bolstering the support system for the athletes who need it the most.”
Walk-on college athletes can apply for the “College Game Changers” sponsorship by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.