Michigan State football signee Jay Harris walks away from scholarship for rap career

As a signee for a major Division I football program, Jay Harris was no slouch on the field. A standout wide receiver for Exton (Pa.) Downington East High, Harris was expected to contribute for the Michigan State Spartans in some capacity as a freshman. Now he won’t even be on the team, because he decided to follow another dream.

Before you click play on the video directly below, be forewarned: It contains explicit lyrics and some adult themes.

In what can only be described as a major surprise, not to mention a particularly unique twist, Harris had his scholarship to Michigan State rescinded after he posted the explicit rap video you see above to YouTube. In the course of a 3:26 span, Harris rhymes about having sex, smoking illegal drugs and being awesome at life in general.

Naturally, all of these are particularly normal, even banal tropes for most rappers, yet they aren’t particularly attractive to the NCAA. In fact, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michigan State decided to pull its scholarship from Harris after it saw his music video for “DatBull 4 Life” (Harris raps under the stage name “Jay DatBull”), which kicks off with a massive puff on a substance which looks an awful lot like a substance which is firmly on the government’s list of illegal narcotics.

Jay Harris walked away from a Michigan State scholarship to rap — Philadelphia Inquirer
Jay Harris walked away from a Michigan State scholarship to rap — Philadelphia Inquirer

While losing a Division I football scholarship would seem like a particularly traumatic experience for an athletic 18-year-old, Harris took the entire incident in stride. In fact, it appeared he had made a clear choice to chase rap stardom over a future on the field, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer that his move from the gridiron to full-time rap had been held up in the past by his lack of courage, not any indecision.

“I’ve always had this in the back of my head, but never had the courage to tell my parents that this is what I want to do,” Harris told the Inquirer.

For the record, Michigan State said that Harris not honoring his scholarship was a mutual decision, which is significant for one reason: It means Harris is almost certainly the first teenager to back away from an almost sure four-year free ride to rap since Will Smith passed on MIT.

Only time will tell if Jay DatBull actually becomes successful in the studio, but he has lined up a June 1 record release date, with critically acclaimed producer M. Stacks agreeing to produce his debut album. The YouTube video for DatBull 4 Life has also already been viewed more than 50,000 times on the video sharing site

Some of those views were probably generated by Harris’ football fame, though he may have earned some organically as well. Either way, he’ll now have to prove that he is worthy of attention on his own without the football accomplishments and pedigree behind him.

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