Friday, June 1, 2012
Okay, so I won't be running around in shiny suits, dancing in videos, and telling my audience to "take that, take that". However, I am giving Sean "Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy (and whatever other nickname he has)" Combs some dap. Congratulations. It appears to me (from a distance) you have a son you should be proud of. Sean's son, Justin Combs, will attend UCLA upon graduation from New York's New Rochelle Iona Prep. His prize from the esteemed university: a football scholarship. Now his prize from his father, a $360,000 silver Maybach when he turned 16 two years ago, might be a bit more appealing to the naked eye... but the gift from UCLA is something that will be worth a lot more in the long run... if he continues to display the work ethic and seemingly positive attitude he's shown thus far. Combs was definitely a worthwhile recipient of the scholarship, as the three-star football recruit maintained a 3.75 GPA. He also received offers to attend Virginia, Iowa, and Illinois but chose UCLA over the other schools. The fact he made his decision in the middle of a coaching change (Rick Neuheisel was eventually replaced by former NFL coach Jim Mora Jr.) speaks to his level of commitment to the school, as many times recruits change their minds and enroll at another school when situations like this occur. The 5'9, 170 lbs talent played quarterback and defensive back in high school but will more than likely play the latter for the Bruins. UCLA has fallen on some hard times recently, as they've become yet another victim of the country's economic downfall. But athletic scholarships are not based on financial situations and do not rely on taxpayer's money, explained the school. Amidst the recent controversy, the esteemed university decided to release a statement. "Unlike need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships are awarded to students strictly on the basis of their athletic and academic ability -- not their financial need," the statement read. "Athletic scholarships, such as those awarded to football or basketball players, do not rely on state funds. Instead, these scholarships are entirely funded through UCLA Athletics ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations from supporters. "Each year, UCLA awards the equivalent of approximately 285 full athletic scholarships to outstanding student-athletes. The scholarships are used by the UCLA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to pay students' tuition and fees, as well as room and board. In this respect, UCLA is no different from the overwhelming majority of Division I institutions." Under those guidelines, what is Sean Combs doing wrong? More importantly, what is Justin Combs doing wrong? Yes, Forbes magazine listed him as the richest rapper in the industry (his net worth was valued at $550 million in Forbes as of April 2012). But Justin shouldn't have to refuse the scholarship, unlike many who feel he should. What lesson does that teach him? Are we saying in this country that's been dubbed as "the land of opportunity", that he should be penalized for his father's fortune? Where were those same people when George Bush Jr. went to college? Or Chelsea Clinton? Will they say the same thing about Nick Montana (Joe Montana's son) when he transfers from Washington to attend another school? Is there a certain money barrier you aren't allowed to cross in order to receive a scholarship? WAKE UP PEOPLE? This is the same university that boasts such alumni as attorney Robert Shapiro, NBA greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Reggie Miller, LA Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, tennis greats Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors, etc... in other words this isn't the first money has walked through and eventually out of the university doors.... ITS FRICKIN' UCLA FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! True, they've had a tremendous amount of difficulty the last five years in their athletic department. And the football program is a far cry away from its glory days of the 80's and 90's under former coach Terry Donahue. But with a new coach in Mora Jr. who's already put his stamp on the program by eliminating many lazy practices of past coaching staffs, I feel the Bruins are a program on the rise. Some scouts may consider Combs as being undersized for the NFL. But he wasn't recruited based on his pro potential. He was recruited based on his performance in the classroom and on the field in high school. Therefore, he deserves the scholarship. He worked hard and earned what he received. Isn't that what we teach our kids to do every day? To me, it appears to be another attack by mainstream culture on hip hop... and he's not the entertainer, his father is. Both son AND father are being unfairly scrutinized and stereotyped for working hard to earn their status. Has anyone stopped to think about Justin's feelings? Of course, he knows who his dad is and how much money he makes. Applaud him for not depending on his father for having to pay for his education and him going out and earning it on his own. To me that's more impressive than his Maybach, his last name, or his dad's bank account.