Following our viral coverage of Justin Combs' full-ride scholarship to UCLA (despite his father Diddy's wealth, his own $300,000-plus car, and dire state education cuts and rising tuition costs), Justin Combs took to Twitter yesterday to defend his rich self.
Regardless what the circumstances are, I put that work in!!!!
The 18-year-old, who's getting a football scholarship that UCLA told us will not be covered by taxpayer funds, also tweeted:
Regardless of what you do in life every1 is gonna have their own opinion. Stay focused, keep that tunnel vision & never 4get why u started.
— Justin Dior Combs (@JDior_) May 31, 2012
Folks attacked us on Twitter for pointing out, as has the Daily Mail, CNN and the Los Angeles Times, that Combs' father is reportedly worth nearly a half-billion dollars.
Tuition and fees at UCLA have nearly tripled in the last 10 years, leaving the promise of a world-class education that working class Californians could afford in the dust.
Some students have taken to occupying UC Regents board meetings and participating in raucous, sometimes violent protests on state campuses throughout California.
UCLA, however, defended the scholarship in a statement first made to the Weekly:
… Athletic scholarships are awarded to students strictly on the basis of their athletic and academic ability, and not on a student's 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 by Athletic Department ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations from supporters.
[Update at 4:18 p.m.]: Rap industry pioneer Russell Simmons weighed in on the controversy this afternoon via Twitter:
everyone needs to back off Diddy's son… bit.ly/JUAItN
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) May 31, 2012