Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and son Justin Combs on Jan. 23, 2010 in New York.
It has been said that money can’t buy you happiness. But can buy you a D1 sports scholarship?
As most sports fans know, division I colleges and universities recruit and offer scholarships to prospective, talented players each every year.
Yet one football scholarship has been making headlines this spring.
The recipient? Justin Combs.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, Justin Combs is the 18-year-old son of hip-hop mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.
Justin, who graduated from New Rochelle Iona Prep with a 3.75 grade point average, accepted the $54,000 scholarship from the University of California Los Angeles. It’s not his talent that’s in question but rather if he should be funded for it.
Defending his scholarship, Justin Combs tweeted on Wednesday, “Regardless what the circumstances are, I put that work in!!!! PERIOD.”
Many were angered by the scholarship, when it’s clear that his father — who Forbes magazine recently named the wealthiest artist in hip-hop — could clearly afford the tuition.
But, there is often a misunderstanding around athletic scholarships, as Kent Brown, Assistant Athletics Director/Media Relations at the University of Illinois (who also recruited Combs) points out.
“I think that the people who are criticizing this situation don’t understand that athletic scholarships, especially at the high major level, have nothing to do with need-based or academic-based aid given by campuses,” Brown said. “A person’s financial means generally has no connection on whether they receive an athletic scholarship.”
That’s a sentiment echoed by Nick Ammazzalorso, Executive Athletics Director at UCLA.
He said that their scholarships are given out not because of the individuals’ need for it to attend college but rather their pure talent. 85 out of 110 football players receive scholarships, the others are non-scholarship players called “walk ons.”
Ticket sales, fundraising, media contracts and corporate partnerships are the basis for the scholarships, disproving misconceptions that state funds are used to fund the athletic scholarships.
But, Justin Combs is not the first celebrity child to be given a scholarship.
Children of other celebs, such as Michael Jordan’s sons and Joe Montana’s son have been handed scholarships.
And he’s not the first to want to separate themselves from their name.
“I think that is a concern for him,” says Marcus Jordan’s mom, Juanita in an ESPN article. “I think he feels he doesn’t want to be treated any different because of his name. He wants to be treated like any recruit.”
And being treated like any other recruit, means getting a D1 scholarship for their talent, despite their last name.
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