Taxpayers want Diddy’s son to turn over UCLA scholarship

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Last November, via a press release from a PR firm, the son of hip-hop mogul the son of Diddy/P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean “Puffy” Combs announced that he was verbally committing to play football at UCLA.  In February of this year, Justin Combs, who played his high school football in New Rochelle, New York, made good on that verbal pledge by putting pen to paper on National Signing Day.

Now, the fact that a very rich man’s son will be utilizing a free scholarship has gotten some California residents’ unmentionables all wadded up.

A website called BusinessInsiders.com writes that “state taxpayers are calling on the well-heeled freshman to turn over his $54,000 scholarship to students who need it more.”  Just who those taxpayers are isn’t explained, although toward the end of the article the “Occupy Wall Street” movement’s rallying against tuition hikes at UCLA earlier this year is mentioned.

The argument appears to be that, since Justin Combs’ father is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the family should be compelled to pay for his schooling regardless of his athletic merit that led to the scholarship offer in the first place.

Fortunately, there’s a voice of well-reasoned sanity that can be heard above the inane howling.

“He’s done what he needs to do to be successful and in a meritocracy we have to accept that no matter who your father is, whether he be rich, poor or absent, that you can in fact be successful on your own merit,” Dr. Steve Perry said during an interview on CNN. “There’s nothing free about a Division I athletic scholarship.  It’s 40 hours-plus of work on campus every single week in order to maintain that scholarship.  There’s nothing free about it, because this child will earn this. …

“This is about some people feeling that, because Sean ‘P-Diddy’ Combs has in fact been successful, that his child should not receive any form of support for his own ability. … We have to begin to celebrate success at some point in this country.  We can’t, as we say, hate on this brother (Combs’ dad) for his success or for his children for being able to be successful.”

Amen.

UCLA determined that Combs, a cornerback, was worthy of receiving one of the couple of dozen or so football scholarships it hands out annually.  Based on the Bruins’ evaluation of his football skills as well as what he brings to the academic side of the equation — a 3.75 high school GPA — what his father makes or doesn’t make literally means nothing when it comes to exactly what the younger Combs received: a merit-based scholarship.

Oklahoma CB P.J. Mbanasor will transfer to Louisville

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That certainly didn’t take long.

A little over a week ago, P.J. Mbanasor was one of two cornerbacks who had decided to transfer from Oklahoma.  Tuesday morning on his personal Twitter account, the defensive back announced that he “will be attending the University of Louisville in the fall.”

For what it’s worth, the Cardinals have yet to announce Mbanasor’s addition to the roster.

Mbanasor will likely have to sit out the 2017 season. He would then have two seasons of eligibility at his disposal beginning in 2018.

A four-star member of the Sooners’ 2015 recruiting class, Mbanasor was rated as the No. 19 corner in the country; the No. 17 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 132 player on 247Sports.com’s composite board. After playing in 10 games with two starts as a true freshman, Mbanasor took a redshirt for the 2016 season.

Northwestern, Pat Fitzgerald agree to lengthy contract extension

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It appears Pat Fitzgerald will still be stalking the sidelines in Evanston deep into the next decade.

Tuesday afternoon, Northwestern announced that it has reached an agreement with Fitzgerald, the program’s Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Coach, on a multi-year contract extension.  The 42-year-old Fitzgerald’s extension would keep him as the coach of the Wildcats through the 2026 season.

Fitzgerald will be entering his 17th season as a coach at the school, 11 of those as head coach.  From 1993-96, Fitzgerald was an All-American linebacker for the Wildcats and ultimately inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player.

“This is home for me and my family, and I love this University,” a statement from Fitzgerald began. “I’m extremely privileged to coach the exceptional young men we invite here to earn the best education in college football and compete at the highest level in the Big Ten Conference. The best is yet to come, and we’re excited for the future.”

In his 11 seasons, Fitzgerald has guided NU to a 77-62 record overall and a 41-48 mark in Big Ten play.  Fitzgerald has accounted for two of NU’s four 10-win seasons the program has produced, with both of those coming in the the last five seasons.

He is the winningest football coach in the school’s history.

Tommy Tuberville won’t run for governor in Alabama

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Well, it was fun while it lasted.

In late February, reports surfaced that Tommy Tuberville was giving serious consideration to running for governor in the state of Alabama.  Earlier this month, the former Auburn head coach had loaned his newly-formed campaign $100,000 as he filed the paperwork to form a principal campaign committee ahead of a potential gubernatorial run.

According to a report from 247Sports.com, the run has stopped before it ever really got started.  Citing a person familiar with the situation, AuburnUndercover.com writes that “Tuberville will not run for governor in Alabama after two months of exploring the possibility in 2018.”

Other media outlets have subsequently confirmed the initial report.

Tuberville himself has yet to make an official announcement, although that could come as early as today.  A Tuberville aide did confirm the news, however, telling the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., that “Mr. Tuberville decided this morning the timing for him to enter governor’s race is not right,” with Tripp Skipper adding, “He feels led to pursue other opportunities.”

Whether those other opportunities include a continuation of his long-time coaching career remains to be seen.

The 62-year-old Tuberville spent 10 seasons as the head coach at Auburn, famously guiding the Tigers to a six-game winning streak over the rival Alabama Crimson Tide during his tenure. “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have Nick Saban,” Tuberville said in a late-March radio interview when asked why Alabama football fans should vote for him.

A head coach most of the past two decades, Tuberville has a 159-99 record in stops that included Ole Miss (1995-98), Texas Tech (2010-12) and Cincinnati (2013-16) in addition to his time on The Plains.

Former four-star QB Jack Allison leaving Miami

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Not long after Miami put the wraps on its second spring practice under Mark Richt, the chase to replace Brad Kaaya under center has seen a significant development.

In a press release Tuesday, The U announced that Jack Allison has decided to leave the Hurricanes football program.  The redshirt freshman quarterback’s decision was triggered by a desire for a better shot at playing time elsewhere.

“Jack approached me and indicated that he felt like he would have more opportunities for playing time at another program,” the head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”

The strong-armed Allison, who suffered a shoulder injury this past weekend, exited spring practice behind Malik Rosier, Kaaya’s backup the past two seasons, and Evan Shirreffs on the quarterback depth chart.  Additionally, four-star 2017 signee N’Kosi Perry is expected to join the fray this summer and compete for the starting job as well.

A four-star 2016 signee, Allison was rated as the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 27 player at any position in the state of Florida.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.

Allison is the second Hurricane to transfer out of the program since the curtain closed on spring practice.  Monday, the university confirmed that defensive back Jeff James, the nephew of former U great Edgerrin James, “felt it was in his best interests to get a fresh start somewhere else.”