This situation has angered some students at UCLA and gotten people around the country buzzing because of Combs’ wealth and celebrity.
I believe that another reason for the controversy is the intensity of the debate that we’re having over the national pie and the top 1 percent.
The pie in this case are the scholarships to a good school like UCLA, its tuition having tripled in the past ten years. The argument against Combs was best expressed by UCLA student Neshemah Keetin, who told CBS News in Los Angeles, "UCLA’s athletic department needs to consider the fact that perhaps there is another athlete, who could perhaps really use the scholarship."
The attacks in the media, like those by LA Weekly, are also punctuated by pictures of Justin Combs with his friends around a $300,000 car that his dad gave him for his 16th birthday. The Weekly said, "Now that’s a free ride that’s worth a dozen full-ride scholarships to UCLA."
I understand these complaints, but I think that they are misguided. Justin Combs earned this scholarship with his athletic and academic achievements. Rather than attacking him as some rich kid who already has everything, we should commend him as a kid who didn’t wallow in the fame and money of his dad, but did really well academically in a tough high school and worked hard in the toughest physical sport.
Of course, when the Occupiers, President Obama and a host of others are preaching a doctrine of class warfare under the guise of a "fair shot," it’s easy to see why this story evokes comments like that of one of my radio callers who said that Combs and his son both lack integrity for accepting the scholarship.
Callers also have told me that the scholarship that Combs got might have gone to a kid who might discover the cure for cancer. I’d be satisfied if those on football scholarship could discover a cure for illiteracy, starting with the functional illiteracy of many college athletes. The so-called scholar athlete at some of the seamier big-time college-football factories is a fallacy and a disgrace.
In addition to the overall conspiracy mentality toward the wealthy that is framing this issue, what really angers me is the thinking of the Occupiers. Why is it they are concerned about student-college debt, but conveniently overlook the fact that college tuition continues to rise at an indefensible rate. The real question is: Who is responsible for this ever-increasing college cost? The answer is: Those who are running America’s colleges.
Glenn Harlan Reynold, law professor at the University of Tennessee and author of The Higher Education Bubble, says that college tuition over the past 20 years has grown at an annual rate of 7.45 percent, far outstripping inflation, and much of this has been fueled by government money like Pell Grants. The colleges continue to jack up prices and scream that middle-class kids are not going to realize the American Dream if Congress doesn’t step in.
So, are people like Justin Combs blocking the schoolhouse doors for deserving kids, or is Big College just charging a more exorbitant cover charge every year?
So, rather than be distracted by stories like Combs’, start now to educate your kid that a good school and a good education is not dependent on the beauty of the campus, the rankings of the sports teams or even the cafeteria food choices, but on the quality and marketability of the education you’ll receive for a career in the real world.
The real story here is one of parenting. I don’t want to declare "Diddy" Dad of the Year, but I think the fact that his son has earned academic and athletic success speaks well of at least some of his parenting.
Sean Combs is renowned for his work ethic and attention to detail. His son, by winning the scholarship, is essentially, in his own way, becoming his own man.
These are qualities I hope for my sons and your kids.
Dom Giordano sort of praising "Diddy"?
Only in America!
Teacher-turned-talk show host Dom Giordano is heard on WPHT (1210 AM) Radio weekdays 9AM to 12 noon. Contact Dom at firstname.lastname@example.org.