UCLA probably didn’t expect quite the degree of coverage it got when it offered a football scholarship to a defensive back named Justin Combs out of Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y., but attention was just what they got, since his father is rapper and music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.
The Bruins gave the kid a merit-based scholarship, and not a need-based package, which means the $54,000 athletic scholarship was offered because of his skills on the field, not the size of his (father’) wallet. The scholarship is paid for by the football program itself, with money coming from ticket sales, boosters, etc., and not from taxpayer dollars.
Best of all, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound cornerback can play. He worked as hard on the gridiron as well as the classroom, posting a reported 3.75 grade point average. Several Division I schools were after him, rightfully so.
The attention came when a group of California taxpayers got it all wrong and called for the school to rescind the offer since Combs’ father could pay for it and that there are other players who are far less privileged.
People! He worked for it. His father, who probably carries at least that much dough in his pocket as walk-around money, didn’t buy him into the school and into a uniform. There have been plenty of other athletes playing college sports on a scholarship who also came from well-to-do families and no one squawked. They were there because they could play whatever sport it was that attracted the school in the first place.
Why should Combs have to give up a thing? He shouldn’t and hopefully will not. Sure, his father might make a healthy donation to the school, more for good public relations than anything else, but no one in that family should have to do a thing except work hard, play hard, root hard.
And worry about beating USC.