It is one of 285 athletic scholarships the university hands out every year.
It comes at a time when student fees are rising and a year after the university had to use more than $2 million in student fees to cover an athletic department funding gap.
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.
The newspaper said Justin Combs defended taking the scholarship on Twitter: “Regardless what the circumstances are, I put that work in!!!! ... PERIOD.”
The senior Combs is worth an estimated $475 million and gave his son a $360,000 Maybach car for his 16th birthday, the Times said.
Justin Combs, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound defensive back, graduated from New Rochelle Iona Prep in New York with a 3.75 grade point average. He also had scholarship offers from Illinois, Virginia and Wyoming.
If needy students are unaffected, there is no problem, said Emily Resnick, outgoing president of UCLA’s Undergraduate Students Association. “If his athletic abilities deserve it, then more power to him.”
Joelle Gamble, who will graduate from the university in a few weeks, said the scholarship could be considered an investment since UCLA would probably benefit by the celebrity Combs could bring to the school.
“It’s how college athletics works. This is how we’re going to get money,” she said.
A few years ago, former Southern California basketball coach Tim Floyd said fame was a factor when he offered a scholarship to rapper Master P’s son, Romeo, for the 2008-2009 season. But Romeo left the team in 2010 after playing just 19 minutes in two seasons as a Trojan.