Image 01 Image 03

Don’t aspire to achieve success, be envious of it

Don’t aspire to achieve success, be envious of it

That was the theme I saw developing with much of the early coverage when it was announced that Justin Combs, son of music mogul P.Diddy, earned a $54,000 athletic scholarship to attend UCLA in the fall.

By all accounts Combs certainly earned his athletic scholarship, achieving a 3.75 GPA while playing defensive back at his high school. It was clearly enough to pique the interests of the UCLA coaches and secure him one of the 285 athletic scholarships the school hands out each year, but apparently not enough for some.

After the scholarship was announced, Combs and UCLA quickly received backlash as headlines began popping up that read, “Should P.Diddy’s son return $54,000 scholarship,” and “Diddy’s son Justin Combs gets full scholarship to UCLA as many students struggle.” In response to calls for him to return the money, Combs tweeted:

UCLA also responded, pointing out that the scholarship Combs received doesn’t even come from state funds:

Unlike need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships are awarded to students strictly on the basis of their athletic and academic ability — not their financial need. Athletic scholarships, such as those awarded to football or basketball players, do not rely on state funds. Instead, these scholarships are entirely funded through UCLA Athletics ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations from supporters.

The criticism has since quieted, and Combs has received his fair share of support and congratulations, but the problem of the initial reaction still lingers with me.  Lately, there seems to be this pervasive problem in political and social culture that somehow being successful is a bad thing, and that the benefits of your success belong to someone else.

Have we really hit a point in our culture where, because your parents are a success, you apparently have no right to reap the benefits of your own and wholly separate successes? What kind of incentive does that create for our children to do well?



Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


This is classic Leftism at work–run down any hint of individual success or prowess, level down to the lowest common denominator. Curious how Puff Daddy is a huge Lefty in politics himself, no?

I suppose the left did not consider the unintended consequences of the “eat the rich” mentality: that it would apply to them, too.

quiksilverz24 | June 2, 2012 at 11:57 am

So parents are supposed to give all their wealth in death to the state and make their children earn it all on their own, except they cannot, because their parents have all the wealth…

Makes perfect sense!!

    But this is part of the living solution.
    Rich people pay more taxes and get nothing in return.
    No grants, no subsidized loans, yada yada yada

PrincetonAl | June 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I think the point is completely valid.

In this particular case, I wonder if at least some of the reaction was (a) confusion over the nature of the scholarship award, e.g. needs based vs. achievement based, and (b) whether some that he got it for being son of someone famous vs. earning it.

To the extent that people weighed in, erroneously, thinking that (a) or (b) was in play, I think they are guilty of jumping to conclusions.

I myself have certainly looked askance at plenty of favors done to the children of the rich at academic institutions, with an eye towards donations or other reciprocal favors. Anyone who approaches the situation from that owes it to look at the facts carefully.

That being said, I suspect that the Professor’s post is still largely on target.

    Ragspierre in reply to PrincetonAl. | June 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Yep. You and I will get shredded here, but a scholarship really is supposed to support scholars deserving of help, and in need of it, generally speaking.

    They are not supposed to be recruiting tools for rich athletes (not taking anything at all from the young man here).

    Once, well-off people could endow a gift to be used by needy people of promise, and sometimes it was not a gift at all, but a loan.

    Of course, THAT was somehow dirty pool…

    See Patient, The Resident.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to PrincetonAl. | June 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    If the donor sets no specific conditions regarding the recipient of his largesse, the school is free to grant as it sees fit.

      Ragspierre in reply to Juba Doobai!. | June 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      No doubt. Still, if it is subverted to the recruitment of a kid who…parents having no doubt as to capacity to pay tuition…is a jock, it does call into question the judgment of the people making that award.


    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to PrincetonAl. | June 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I think the school is angling for a large donation/endowment from papa Combs.

    It seems to me they could have given baby Combs some sort of honorary achievement award with the invitation to sign on with them and given the money to somebody in need. It seems a little too cute by half to not have some sort of means test attached to the scholarship, which has traditionally been the basis for scholarships.

    All that said, athletic scholarships are a bad idea in the first place, even those with a scholastic component in the decision making criteria.

      Trapped in Davis in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | June 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      I agree with you in this. There must have been dozens of students that had (nearly) identical qualifications for the scholarship as the young Mr. Combs that had real financial need for the scholarship. While I’m sure he is a great football player and student, I wonder how much weight having P. Diddy in the stands cheering his son (and the extra money it could bring) carried with the media and alumni who helped decide which student to award this to.

        Trapped in Davis in reply to Trapped in Davis. | June 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm

        Correction ..students who …who
        (Obviously proof reading isn’t my strength.)

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Trapped in Davis. | June 3, 2012 at 5:27 am

        Are you “Trapped in Davis”, CA? I went to high school there; lived in a small town to the west. 🙂

          Trapped in Davis in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | June 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

          Yup. UC Davis graduate and employee. Hard to live here with all the “Berkeley envy”. Davis recently “upgraded” their athletic depart from non-scholarship (title III I think), where we were top rated, to title I. Most of the students and faculty objected, but the backers (the Regents, etc.?) used some pretty sneaky tactics to get it passed. We got a really nice, new stadium out of the deal. Too bad the team stinks so badly nobody wants to see them play.

          Trapped in Davis in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | June 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

          That’s why I’m so cynical about the reasons for young Mr. Combs’ award. I’ve been exposed to UC politics too long.

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | June 4, 2012 at 9:44 am

          Nevertheless, UCD is a very good school. Ag and Vet are top-notch.

          UCD used to have excellent rugby teams. 🙂

LukeHandCool | June 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm

“Have we really hit a point in our culture where, because your parents are a success, you apparently have no right reap the benefits of your own and wholly separate successes? What kind of incentive does that create for our children to do well?”

Spot on. I would just add that parents towards the bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum would do their children and society a huge favor by teaching them that envy is a dead-end road … while parents towards the top of the socioeconomic spectrum would do their children and society a huge favor by stressing that arrogance is bad form.

    MadCon in reply to LukeHandCool. | June 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Having been raised Catholic, I was taught that envy is a sin. “Thou shall not covet.” Once someone starts to covet something, it gets easier to rationalize stealing, which is another sin. “Thou shall not steal.”

    Putting aside religion and just looking at this practically, Envy is simply harmful to society. Envy leads to an Entitlement/Victim mentality which then can lead to government-sanctioned stealing in the form of Socialism or programs that favor some person over others in the interest of “equal outcomes.”

I am sure P. Diddy is a leftist so let him reap what he sowed. “Artists” get let off the hook when all of the class warfare BS comes up but they are usually some of the first ones hanged when the revolution comes. Sucks for them but it is what they wanted and they will get no sympathy from me.

Juba Doobai! | June 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Whatever piqued (not ‘peak’) UCLA’s interest, the boy did the academic and athletic work to earn what he received. I guess, for some, that sounds a little too capitalist.

MacsenMcBain | June 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Good for him that he earned a scholarship. Even better that he’s standing up for himself.

Another liberal evolves. Well, at least his son.

As we have noticed with increasing frequency, the Left’s politics are unappetizing to individuals when held to their own standards.

It should be obvious that today’s progressive is necessarily tomorrow’s conservative. In fact, that’s the path followed by American conservatives, who were the original progressives.

Good on him for making the effort, being selected, and then earning this largesse separate from his father’s celebrity, but was Justin Combs disowned by his parents? Was he emancipated as a minor? Who has been paying his tuition up until now?

P.Diddy is supposed to have a net worth around a half-billion dollars. Is there some reason he is not footing the bill, which would free the funds to someone who is as good a performer on the field and class, but not quite up to paying the freight?

While I appreciate that this particular scholarship is divorced from state funds, it doesn’t set right. I am in no way a supporter of class envy. Why would Combs’ parents not foot the bill just like anyone else who is able?

Prof, I don’t get the ‘don’t aspire to achieve success, be envious of it’, unless there’s some kind of bow to low expectations of progeny from monied parents.

After reading the cited article from HuffPo, it seems to be more a commentary on the college-athletic-celebrity fiscal practice, much like union-DNC money laundering. So Justin is one more cog in that wheel. I hope he continues to do well on his own.

You mean he didn’t share the wealth of his GPA with those who have bad grades? How *cough* shameful, or something…

Karma is suck a bitch sometimes, right Barack?

He doesn’t have to accept the scholarship to make the football team. Combs’ father should have told him to accept the offer to play for the football team, but decline the funds.

    herm2416 in reply to PhillyGuy. | June 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    While that is a good point you make, and a generous one, I am looking at this from a slightly different angle. This is a scholarship that Justin earned of his own volition, away from his father’s shadow. Presumably, he earned it fair and square. Yes, it would be very generous of him to forgo it, but rules at the school may not allow it. I’ll give credit where credit is due.

    “Combs’ father should have …”

    If you feel moved to start dispensing free advice to parents of black male highschoolers in the LA area, there are probably a lot of dads who require it more urgently than one whose son shines at varsity sport whilst maintaining a 3.75 GPA to the point where he won a merit-based scholarship.

    The whole “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” thing being pushed by so many here (not just you), though, is pure Marxism and not an attitude which should be encouraged. IMO.

      PhillyGuy in reply to s_dog. | June 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      All his son wants to do is go to that school and play for that football team. Mission accomplished. The young man did well in school. Now his father should pass on the money and allow some other deserving student-athlete (who doesn’t have a billionaire father) the opportunity to go to that school.

JackRussellTerrierist | June 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

“Lately, there seems to be this pervasive problem in political and social culture that somehow being successful is a bad thing, and that the benefits of your success belong to someone else.”

Successfullness is just another casualty of obastard’s class warfare, it seems to me. The left has, of course, always worn their hatred of wealth and success on their sleeve even while they seek it for themselves, but they’ve only come completely out of the closet with it, using their hatred as a weapon, since the advent of “obamunism.”

My problem is with the misplaced priorities. 285 scholarships for athletes?

Money for Combs’ scholarship will not affect need-based scholarships awarded by the university, UCLA spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told the Los Angeles Times.

“There is a big separation between financial aid based on need and how that’s funded and how athletic scholarships are funded and awarded to students,” he said, noting that athletic scholarships come from athletic department ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations.

OK, politely…BULLSPIT!

Combs worked hard and achieved. Excellent.

His academic reward is admission to an excellent school (punitively…).

His athletic reward is a place on the school team.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooobody can truthfully say that that money could not go to a kid who…having the same attributes, but a without wealthy parents…stands in need of it.

That’s simple economics, and it has NOTHING to do with class warfare.

Indeed, the INVERSE is true. This is like rent-controlled housing in NYC…it is a matter of the poorest paying a stipend for the wealthiest, since UCLA is a tax-supported school.

    PhillyGuy in reply to Ragspierre. | June 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Rags, I understand your point. However, there are a limited amount of athletic scholarships available and there are other young men that could have benefitted from it.

    So I’m going to go against the grain here and criticize P Diddy for not showing his son how to be generous. On the other hand, good for his son for working hard in school. No need to pile on the young man at all.

      Ragspierre in reply to PhillyGuy. | June 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Right, and I’m not criticizing the Diddy Minor at all. (Though the better part of valor would have been to decline the geld, IMNHO.)

      My pick is with the university, and with the blatant BS of that statement and their very confused standards.

      Let’s say your kid wins a merit-based prize in the colouring-in contest your local grocery store sponsors, or the soapbox derby your local hardware chain sponsors.

      Would you force your kid to hand it back on the basis that someone who didn’t work as hard as her, and/or who isn’t as talented as her, and who in fact didn’t win the competition as she did, “deserves” it more solely on the basis that her parents earn less that you do?

      I mean at what age do you start pushing this Marxist cr*p?

        Ragspierre in reply to s_dog. | June 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm

        OK, good. This gets to what may be the root confusion.

        See my comment above? Diddy Minor worked and GOT his prizes (admission and a place on the team). NOBODY (in this brain) would argue they should be taken away, OR taxed because of his daddy’s income.


        But a scholarship (in my little traditional head, at least) is intended to enable people of merit…but less than adequate means…to be…wait for it…SCHOLARS! Traditionally, they involved a means test. (And were donated private money.)

        And maybe that is part of the rub here. UCLA is abusing the term (scholarship). It is more correctly a bribe, inducement, bonus, etc., to recruit a jock.

        And, again, it is akin to rent controls in NYC, which OSTENSIBLY are supposed to make housing affordable to poorer people, but in application work as a a wealth transfer to the wealthiest people FROM the poorest. Thomas Sowell has an excellent discussion of this in his book, Basic Economics.

          So if one is born to the “wrong” sort of parents [in America, this apparently means “successful”], one must not be allowed to claim the prize one has rightfully – on merit – won?

          Have you never heard of the merit-based Rhodes Scholarship?

          Happily anyone is allowed to go for one, and if you’re intelligent, hard-working and talented enough you won’t be disqualified merely because you had the cheek to have chosen a well-to-do family to have been born into.

          Needs-based scholarships and merit-based scholarships are just two different animals. If you disqualify anyone with successful parents from being allowed to compete for merit-based scholarships, you’ve just turned them into another class of charity rather than the prize they are meant to be.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

          At risk of flogging a moribund equine, Rhodes endowed his scholarship to encourage SCHOLARS.

          Private money.

          UCLA is TAX supported. This kid is not a SCHOLAR so much as a jock, and the bonus, bribe, inducement, etc. was given him as a recruiting tool FOR A JOCK. (We could delve into my views on whether there should be state-supported universities…but hey…sufficient is the evil…)

          Notre Dame or BYU? Less egregious, since they are NOT tax funded.

          And, again, no reflection on Diddy Minor. The UCLA people are the ones in the wrong.

          UCLA is TAX supported.

          With respect, so is Oxford.

          So in each case we have a university which receives taxpayer dollars, and then there are private monies going to fund merit-based scholarships for prospective students who meet a certain set of criteria.


          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm

          To recap…

          Neither of us suggests that Diddy Minor should be made to give anything back.

          (I would, if I were he, but that’s me.)

          My point was and is that this kind of award, bonus, bribe, etc. is not a scholarship, AND that such things as actual scholarships should have a means test.

          IF a Cecil John Rhodes wants to endow a trust for scholars WITHOUT a means test, that is his call. It was his money.

          I do not see that as “the same” as public funds (which the UCLA monies ARE, based on what little we have from the story [and money being fungible]).

    SmokeVanThorn in reply to Ragspierre. | June 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Are you claiming that the statement regarding the sources of athletic scholarships is false? If so, what are the facts that support your claim?

Yes, there are indeed valid points to be made-

However, let’s not kid ourselves. This “outrage” is based in marxism.

It is finding it’s way in every aspect of American life, and is a direct result of student indoctrination.

Watching the emotional debate on ESPN the other day, I found myself laughing out loud.

Marxist love to say “hey, that guy has more than I, take his things and flog him!”

Until someone peers over to their side of the fence–then, it’s “hands off! I EARNED IT!”

A free ride to UCLA is only worth $54,000? Auburn University charges $21K a year for Alabama residents and $37K a year for non-residents.

No wonder UCLA football rots…

BannedbytheGuardian | June 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the large number of foreign athletes who get scholarships to Us universities -state & private.

I know several athletes who were/are scattered across the US system from Stanford to Alabama milking the US system . Mostly they are a lvel or 2 below Olympic selection level & are off having a lot of fun.

It really is ridiculous to use American monies (public & private ) to fund our guys who have access to university education & live in a higher Human Development ranked country than the US. (Number One To number Two for you ). It has something to do with intra college /Ncaa sports results. Which is a laugh as the athletes are restricted to 20 hours per week training & the subsequent athletic output is rather modest . This limited training is the excuse these kids give for their mediocre results -comparable with home based athletes. For example not one member of the Australian Olympic swim team is US based but sometimes a few track & field are but not tis year.

It is a mystery & not good economic sense.

I don’t know anyone currently at UCLA .

BannedbytheGuardian | June 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm

As regards the moral issue. – a family member was in the running for a sports scholarship at US universities sometime during the Bush admin.

At a International Junior competition the topic was openly discussed with the American coaches – all of whom said one would be easy to obtain with a small modification of his /her events/list from Olympic to NCAA format.

At the time i thought -if the Americans are stupid enough to give out $150,000-$200,000 over a 4 year college life then why not take it & have some fun ?

The athlete chose otherwise & it was a no go but now I would feel that he/she would be taking from an American whose parents might well be struggling. PDiddyDady does not think like that .