Anybody who has watched an evening newscast or spent five minutes on a financial website has heard of the state of the economic infrastructure in California. If you haven’t, then I’ll give you the one-word summary: dire.

While battling a bit of insomnia this evening, I spent ample time bouncing around and catching up on my reading. I came across an article from LAWEEKLY on the Los Angeles section of The Huffington Post that raised Justin Combs’ football scholarship as a topic for debate? Dennis Romero frames the debate with notes about the state’s financial aid system, need-based aid versus that of a meritocracy, tuition hikes, Combs’ achievements and the estimated net worth of his father.

Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t mention that off the jump. People are up in arms about Combs’ scholarship because his father is Sean “Insert Current Moniker Here” Combs. Yes, he is the offspring of “Diddy,” “P. Diddy,” “Puff Daddy” or whatever else he’s called, depending on the era of creativity you wish to invoke. And, yes, he is extremely wealthy.

But, this isn’t about Justin Combs receiving a Pell Grant or subsidized student loans or need-based aid. He earned it on the field and in the classroom.

Combs received a scholarship offer as a result of his efforts on the football field and his stellar work in the classroom (3.75 GPA). The 5-foot-9 cornerback also reportedly had interest from a number of Division I teams.

I trust that new UCLA head coach Jim Mora did not make an effort to sign Combs because of a desire to score some free “Sean John” shirts. Fundraisers at the school will undoubtedly reach out to Mr. Combs and his associates during his son’s tenure at the school, and probably with a bit more fervor than another alumnus might receive. Again, that’s not the point.

Justin Combs received a merit-based scholarship. Period. Funds were not taken from the general pool. He took the money from a cornerback in contention for one of this year’s scholarships. That’s all. If he performs poorly, acts up or brings something negative to the program, Jim Mora is not one to hold his tongue or fold his arms. The business of college football, particularly one in a huge market in a power conference, does not afford coaches the luxury of being starstruck. Mora coached in the NFL. He’s been around plenty of monied people.

Jumping off of that, should all athletic scholarships be taken away from players’ whose families have economic means? If a player’s father played in the NFL or their parents own a house, does that preclude the son or daughter from getting a scholarship?

How many zeroes in a checkbook are grounds for disqualification?

I don’t care that Combs has Tweeted pictures of himself in front of high-priced automobiles. Neither should you.


What’s the big deal about Justin Combs’ scholarship?

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