Worth an estimated $550 million — $90 million more than the second-richest rapper, Jay-Z, according to Forbes — one would think Combs would have no trouble putting his son, Justin, through college.
And anybody thinking that would be right — for all the wrong reasons.
This is because the younger Combs, a cornerback and recent graduate of a New York City prep school, has been awarded a full scholarship to play for UCLA and new head coach Jim Mora. Subsequently, the notion of a kid who was given a car worth six figures for his 16th birthday receiving an annual scholarship worth $54,000 has not sat well with many people.
But there are more layers to this situation than just the numbers in the ledger.
For one, Justin did not coast his way through high school. He left Iona Prep with a GPA of 3.75, which equates to slightly above an A-minus average. If UCLA really does put equal weight on “athletic and academic ability” when awarding athletic scholarships, as they declared in a statement released on Friday, then UCLA is in the right for awarding him a scholarship.
Admittedly, UCLA is a public institution — and as such, is accountable in some sense to what taxpayers deem to be a judicious use of their money. But in the aforementioned statement, the institution also emphasized that the money used for athletic scholarships is not drawn from state funds.
This effectively allows UCLA to distribute that money in any way they please. So if they want to offer the son of a rap mogul a $50,000 annual discount on his education to come play football, they have all the justification in the world for doing so and are somewhat insulated from the ire of taxpayers.
Yet, for all that, the real focus should be on Justin himself. He didn’t ask to be born into the financial standing he has found himself in, and he could have simply sat back and rode the coattails of his father as far as he wished. But he has worked hard to get to where he is today, and should not be penalized for the wealth Diddy has accumulated.
If for some reason Justin decides to give up his scholarship in a gesture of magnanimity, that would be all well and good. But let’s not hang the kid out to dry for accepting it as a reward for what he himself has accomplished.
Photo via Twitter/@JDior_