Never underestimate the importance of a sporting event that garners more attention on TMZ than it does at CBS Sportsline. Yesterday “actor,” “rapper,” and “basketball player” Lil Romeo, baptized Percy Romeo Miller, announced his intention to sign with the University of Southern California. Miller, a point guard, averaged 13 points and 5 assists for the Beverly Hills High School Axel Foleys, and he is, according to the Associated Press, ranked by one recruiting service among the nation’s top 15 point guard prospects. Which begs the dual questions: When did Master P find time to start his own high school recruiting service? And is it indicative of his son’s abilities, or lack thereof, that he only ranked Lil Romeo among the top 15? In any case an excited Miller told the assembled media “This is the most important thing I’ve had to do and hopefully it sends a message to kids across the country that education is more important than money. Getting a college scholarship is more important than winning an American Music Award, and I plan to be the best student-athlete I can be at USC.” Hopefully Romeo finds time to enroll in an irony class while at SC. Rarely can a well intentioned sentence so innocently and eloquently summarize the destruction of three separate and unique cultures -athletics, academics and popular music- so accurately and apocalyptically. It makes sense of course, USC is to academic success what an American Music Award is to artistic validation.
Good lord does that last paragraph come across as unrepentantly snobby. And we acknowledge that we speak with tongue firmly planted in cheek. SC, for all its foibles, has never had the academic controversies that have hampered other programs (though we also imagine it’s pretty difficult to get a T.A. to do your homework while enrolled in a dance class) and the American Music Awards acknowledge having no other purpose than doling out accolades to last year’s winner of American Idol. Honestly we look forward to Miller’s tenure as a Trojan. Master P will be the most entertaining sideline interview since Yannick Noah and we imagine the rapper responsible for “Little Girlies” will inspire some pretty inspired hazing in opposing stadiums. Plus we need something to do when OJ Mayo is collecting checks in Memphis.