“Puff Daddy” “Puffy” “P-Diddy” “Diddy” Combs’ 18-year-old son, Justin Combs, is receiving a partial-ride to UCLA on a football scholarship, which has many up in arms, given the financial stability of the Combs family. You know, because tax payer money benefiting the rich is a far cry from the American way, and a complete taboo.
But, according NJ.com, the taxpayers aren’t on the hook for the Combs’ scholarship, and it’s not even a traditional full-ride scholarship, which is more reason for him to accept the award.
The award comes from not from taxpayers but from Athletic Department ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contract and private donations, a university spokesman told the Los Angeles Times in Combs’ defense. The scholarships are not need-based — clearly — and are awarded to students based on athletic and academic ability.
But taxpayers being off the hook haven’t stopped some from getting bent out of shape due to the idea that the Combs family could pay Justin’s way through UCLA, the real issue here is not whether or not Combs deserved the scholarship because of his financial need, but his talent on the field.
Combs is a two-star cornerback coming out of Iona Prep in New York, with a frame and skill set combination that just won’t fit in the Pac-12. If you need proof, look at the picture to the right. He’s 5-foot-9, 175 lbs, without the talent to overcome that size. Scout has him as the 133rd best corner in the country, and he’s probably better suited playing in conference with the talent level of the Big East or MAC.
But, he’s a rap star’s son. Those guys don’t take scholarships to Kent State, as living in the middle of Ohio just doesn’t fit the lifestyle that the Combs are used to, and you really can’t blame them. If UCLA is going to over Justin a scholarship, he damn well better take that scholarship. Yes, he’s “financially well off”, but has that stopped anyone else before him? No. Not Matt Leinart. Not Lil’ Romeo. Not Matt Barkley, Jimmy Clausen, and don’t expect Barry Sanders Jr. to walk-on at Stanford this fall either. If you get a scholarship, you take it.
Now going back to his talent, if there’s anyone to gripe over this, is Jim L. Mora, for signing arguably the biggest and best class in UCLA history and spending a scholarship on a player than will likely be buried on the depth chart throughout his career.
Now while some will argue that that’s a reason for the Combs’ not to take the scholarship and save some of UCLA’s athletic fund(which does benefit from taxpayer money to some degree), that’s a ridiculous argument. If Combs doesn’t take the scholarship award, it likely goes to a walk-on that’s busting his behind on special teams, or anywhere else on the team, just like how USC gave Ross Cumming a scholarship a couple years back. It wouldn’t have been “saved” money, in anyway that you want to break it down.
And if you want to argue that Combs is costing one of those blue-collar special teamers a scholarship opportunity at UCLA, that’s another weak argument. It’s not his fault that he got offered the scholarship. Plus, he had scholarship offers from Illinois, Iowa, Virginia and West Virginia. If he didn’t go to UCLA, he’d have “taken” a scholarship away from one of the “hard working” and “deserving” players at those schools too.
Don’t blame the kid for taking a scholarship. If you want to blame anyone, blame Mora for offering a scholarship to a player that will likely ride the pine his whole career. USC did it with Lil’ Romeo, and that worked out, didn’t it? Albeit, Justin Combs is a D-1 player unlike Romeo, he’s just not a Pac-12 player.