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.”
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.