Pass on the UCLA Scholarship Combs, Pay It Forward

Excuse me while I wipe the taste of revulsion off my mouth!

It was an uncontrollable reaction after hearing news that P. Diddy’s son, Justin Combs, was not only admitted to one of the most difficult colleges to get into, but was also offered a scholarship to play football for the UCLA Bruins.

The millionaire rapper, also known as Sean John Combs, sat looking like an ass wearing sunglasses indoors as he watched his offspring sign on the dotted line accepting his $54,000 full ride at the country’s most applied to college in the nation.

Show me the money!

I am speaking here as scorned Financial Aid applicant forced to pay full tuition to the tune of $37,000 per year, because we make too much money according to the Expected Family Contribution (E.F.C.) calculator.  We also got a rejection letter after we filled out, and submitted, the demanding Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) forms which require we divulge every bit of personal information except for the size of our intimate apparel.

We applied, and were summarily denied any tuition assistance based solely on our income. Our taxes alone would pay for both of our children’s college tuition for 4 years each, yet we are not eligible for any consideration what so ever based on our income!

On the flip side of the bank statement, it is reported that the Sean John Combs is worth millions, but anyone with a television set already knows this.

Besides a successful music career, Combs Sr. has multiple endorsement deals for vodka and his own clothing line at Macy’s. This is just about all the evidence the public needs to understand his worth as measured by the standards set in our celebrity-driven society.

Combs Jr. attended New Rochelle Iona Prep school in New York where the tuition is $15,300 a year, and graduated with a 3.75 GPA. (Information about whether this is a weighted or un-weighted GPA has not surfaced yet.)

But, according to reports, it wasn’t the cornerback’s brains as much as his brawn that got him into UCLA in style.  Coaches were apparently enamored with the young athlete’s skills on the field enough to allow him to not only enroll at this prestigious school, but to also show him the money to secure his presence on the team.

I just can’t wrap my head around this at all.

Is UCLA desperate to lift the Bruins presence in the media, or has the admissions team lost sight of what offering a scholarship to an already-rich kid is doing to our morally vacuous society?

It’s understandable that the L.A. version of living in America is obscured by the bright lights of Tinsel Town. But please, don’t let these admissions officers be blinded by the allure of stars’ kids to.

There is enough nepotism in the entertainment industry already, but this latest questionable move by an already-controversial UCLA admissions process is mind-boggling.

It is hard to believe that there was absolutely no other athlete in the applicant pool of student-athletes across this sports-obsessed country that deserved this financial aid more than the son of a millionaire.

This inexplicable decision only shines the light directly on the superficiality of the coaches and admissions officers who colluded to allow this despicable move – and makes us wonder if UCLA showed the right kid the money.

It is well known in college admissions circles that UCLA bases their admissions policy on hard numbers, grades and test scores, but the celebrity boy’s results on the SAT or ACT haven’t been fully disclose yet.

High scores on the football field are great, but college admissions exams alone are heavily weighted in the admissions criteria for UCLA applicants. It is usually this single number that keeps the majority of students out of the selection pool regardless of their athletic or academic prowess.

I won’t deny that Justin Combs may have the skills required on the football field to earn him a spot, or that he worked harder than most precisely because of his celebrity father to prove himself worthy. I will grant him this without knowing if this is really the case.

But what is simply wrong, corrupt and immoral is to give more money to a child who got a six-figure car for his 16th birthday, walks red carpets with his father, and essentially doesn’t need it.

Buying a celebrity’s presence on a team will elevate the media attention of the UCLA Bruins. But this atrocious decision also makes many hard-working student-athletes lose hope of attaining a ‘world class’ education by questioning if it’s not how hard you work, but who you are to be shown the money.

For many student-athletes, an athletic scholarship may be the only path they have to afford a college education – and the rich Combs father-son team just took away someone’s only chance of getting it.

Combs do the ethical thing. Don’t pass on this golden opportunity to pay it forward. Pass your son’s scholarship on to someone who really needs this money to fund their education, and change that life for the better.

Now, can someone please pass me a rag?



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