Thursday, May 31, 2012

Diddy's kid gets controversial free ride at UCLA

The son of wealthy music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs is getting a $54,000-a-year scholarship to play football at UCLA and a lot of people aren't too happy about it.

Justin Combs, a senior at Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y.,  is getting a full ride to one of California's most elite schools on a football scholarship and his pops won't have to shell out one penny from his estimated $475 million net worth.

The university responded to criticism about its decision to grant the 5-foot-9, 170 pound defensive back a full scholarship when his father could probably buy the team a whole new stadium.

The younger Combs will be wearing the blue and gold jersey for the Bruins this fall after turning down offers from Illinois, Iowa and Virginia.  He was ranked No. 133 at his position by 2012 High School Football Ranking.

UCLA claims Combs assistance is no rich-get-richer scheme and based on merit.

"There's a misconception out there that somehow athletic scholarships would take away money from low-income students who need need-based aid," said school spokesman Ricardo Vazquez.  "That's not the case.  Athletic scholarships are awarded strictly on the basis of athletic and academic ability."

He said scholarships for student athletes are funded by sports ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations.

An out-of-state student pays about $54,877 a year in tuition and living costs, according to UCLA.

The older Combs declined to comment on the scholarship controversy.

"As a parent, today is one of the proudest moments of my life," he said late last year after his son committed to UCLA.  "This is everything a father could want for his son, for him to excel at what he loves to do and is truly passionate about."

It wouldn't be hard to imagine Diddy whipping out the old checkbook and making one out to UCLA sometime in the future.  His son earned the handout, his father will probably make it right.

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