Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 10/14/14

Sean Combs (aka Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, etc) is, of course, a hip-hop mogul and the richest artist in the industry with over $500 million of net worth. He has five children, the oldest being his son Justin who is a senior in high school at New Rochelle Iona Prep.

Recently a story has blown up about Justin Combs accepting a full-ride football scholarship ($54,000) to UCLA.

Many sports fans are up in arms that he would accept a full-ride scholarship when his dad has nearly half a billion dollars. They argue that there are student-athletes in greater need of that money and that it may just be a move to create some buzz around the Bruins football team.

However, I completely disagree.

The wealth of Justin Combs' father should have no impact on whether he accepts the scholarship his hard work has earned him. (Image credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images via LA Times)


Justin Combs could have chosen to be lazy, complacent, and flunk out of high school, because at the end of the day his dad is one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the music industry.

Instead, Justin decided to make something of himself.

He achieved a 3.75 GPA at a prep school and worked hard to be a three-star football recruit. Sure, Diddy may have hired a tutor or personal trainer for his son, but in the end Justin was the one doing all of the heavy lifting. His football scholarship may have been the first major award or accomplishment that he achieved by himself, without his dad’s influence.

Signing Justin Combs was an incredibly smart P.R. and recruiting move on the part of UCLA. Not only do they get an All-American to add to their roster, but for the first time in a while there is a national buzz in the media about the UCLA football program.

Certainly some Bruins faithful will go to games to see if the new signee is any good. Plus, having Diddy and his entourage present at half a dozen home games each season can’t hurt attendance or the spotlight on the team.

And talk about a recruiting visit — Justin can take potential recruits on tours of campus in his $360,000 Maybach. Then if some of the highly-recruited UCLA basketball players talk to high school students about becoming a Bruin, that’s one difficult sales pitch to turn down.

The bottom line is that children of wealthy families get scholarships all the time. It just so happens that Justin Combs’ father is a major celebrity with $500 million dollars. If Sean Combs was a very successful doctor with $150 million dollars of net worth, Justin’s recruitment would not be a story.

Children of wealthy professional athletes do frequently get scholarships as well. Both of Michael Jordan’s sons played college basketball, Peyton and Eli Manning’s father Archie was an NFL quarterback, and the list can continue even more.

If a student-athlete has the grades and athletic talent to deserve a college scholarship than his or her family’s wealth should not prevent the individual from receiving a scholarship.

If it makes anyone feel any better, athletic scholarships, including the one that Justin received from UCLA, are not funded by the state. The athletic department and the boosters raise the scholarship money.

We’ll never know whether UCLA recruited Justin Combs as a media ploy or because he is a talented football player, but it was definitely a smart move by the football program, and it will be an intriguing story to follow the next four college football seasons as Justin develops.


What do you think?

Should the Combs family turn down the scholarship and pay Justin’s way? Or should he accept what he has earned and what UCLA is willing to give him?


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