When I heard that rapper Lil' Romeo (real name Romeo Miller) had signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at USC, I figured that it meant one of two things. Either,
A) Romeo likely had some skills, since his father, Master P, allegedly had NBA tryouts, or
B) It was a no-lose situation for Tim Floyd, since Romeo wouldn't be taking up a scholarship anyway.
As it turns out, neither of the above is true. Romeo Miller is getting a full-ride scholarship to USC, and as this Wall Street Journal article makes clear, he probably doesn't even have half his father's basketball ability.
The real story in a nutshell, according to the article, is that he's good friends with Demar DeRozan, a true blue chip prospect, and to get DeRozan they need to take Lil' Romeo as well. And give him a full ride, despite he and his father's millions.
Tim Floyd spins it as a shrewd business decision, one that will put more "11 to 17 year-old girls in the stands."
Is he kidding? Romeo hasn't had a hit album or single in five years (maybe he does need that scholarship...), so his fans probably aren't that age. It may create some brief media interest, but considering how little hype Michael Jordan's son is causing at Illinois (and Romeo may play less than he does), I don't see it paying off by this explanation.
The bottom line seems to be that getting DeRozan is worth two scholarships. And that could very well be true.
But it sets a bad precedent. From now on, every blue chip prospect is going to demand a full-ride scholarship for his best friend. Or maybe for his girlfriend. If a scholarship for the second party can be justified in any way, it will be granted to get the prize recruit. Isn't this sort of an NCAA rules loophole?
It already happens some times with a player's coach getting hired on as an assistant. But this goes beyond that; it denies opportunity to a more deserving player, and in this case players who have much greater need for the financial aspect of the scholarship.
Romeo says his play on the court will justify his scholarship. The video to the left displays the skills he thinks he'll be bringing to the Trojans. Maybe he could be halftime entertainment?