It was a nice gesture at the time: due to the irregularities of college sports seasons in Spring 2020 and Fall 2020, the NCAA decided to “pardon” the seasons of any student athlete impacted by the Covid pandemic. Followed up by easing transfer rules, this has created a nightmare for college sports where players could transfer seemingly at will while gaining an extra year to play sports (regardless of age or academic standing, really).

A strange example? University of Washington quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., who started his playing career at the University of Indiana way back in Fall 2018, still is eligible to play—and will do so—in Fall 2023. That means Penix will have played in six different NCAA Division I seasons by the time he’s done playing college ball … which is pretty ridiculous. To paraphrase the famous comedic line, a lot of people go to college for six years: they’re called doctors.

Admittedly, Penix has only played in 33 games over his prior five seasons in college football, due to injuries and the aforementioned Covid pandemic. But still … who thought this was a good idea, to give college athletes almost unlimited options to keep on playing forever? Especially at public institutions like Indiana and Washington, this actually costs the taxpayers money, to keep afloat the unrealistic dreams of people like Penix. He’s good, but he’s not very good, in reality.

To wit, despite his finishing eighth in the 2022 Heisman voting (which we will take on next week, by the way), his career completion percentage is only 62.3 percent, and his career QB efficiency rating is only 141.5—which is downright mediocre. He really doesn’t have a prayer’s chance in hell of playing in the NFL, so why do the taxpayers have to keep funding a scholarship for him? What will he contribute back to the community when his playing days are done?

Good question. Considering student athletes get approximately $50,000 a year in tuition, books, room, board, and tutoring, etc., not to mention excellent health care, how much has Penix cost the residents of Indiana and now Washington states? Well, over $300,000 in reality, considering his numerous injuries. At Indiana, the Hoosiers went 14-6 in the 20 games he played there in 4 seasons, and at Washington, the Huskies went 11-2 in his lone season there so far.

So, for 25 victories in 5 seasons, Penix has been getting “paid” a lot of money to get a free education at the taxpayers’ expense in two different states. We don’t mean to pick on him, so it’s nothing personal, but it’s pretty insane the kind of privilege that is afforded to a student athlete like this, even in a revenue-generating sport. Although let’s be honest: Indiana football isn’t revenue generating, and Washington football isn’t “elite” like it might have been 30 years ago.

As usual, the NCAA really screwed itself and the taxpayers over here. The lack of foresight and vision in the administration of college sports over the last handful of decades has been ruinous to all—except those who benefit from this unnaturally … and we’re still trying to figure out who those people are and where they live. We’d like to see how high on the hog they’re living at our expense, and then we’d have to figure out a way to make it all stop.