Iowa Betting Scandal Latest to Rock College Sports World

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A criminal investigation into illegal activity surrounding sports betting in Iowa has netted charges against at least five current and former college players, including Cyclones star quarterback Hunter Dekkers.

Dekkers – a 2022 Honorable Mention All-Big 12 who threw over 3,000 yards last year – was charged Tuesday with tampering with records tied to a months-long Iowa criminal investigation this year, according to the Associated Press. A search of Iowa online court records by Gaming Today on Wednesday revealed at least three other current or former Iowa State players are facing tampering charges in addition to Dekkers. Similar charges are also reportedly pending in an investigation involving a former University of Iowa athlete, according to the Des Moines Register — although the exact charge is not posted via online court records.

Court dates for Dekkers and the other three current or former Iowa State players charged in the investigation are set for Aug. 16.

Tampering with records is a misdemeanor in Iowa that can carry up to one year in jail or two years in prison with aggravated factors. Additionally, charges faced by each current player could affect their NCAA eligibility.

The Iowa State and Iowa scandals are not the first to impact an NCAA football program this year. In May, the University of Alabama fired former baseball coach Brad Bohannon following sports betting irregularities tied to the April 28 Alabama-LSU game.

Players Placed Bets by Concealing Their Identities

Charges faced by Dekkers and other current and former players implicated in the investigation involved schemes to cover up hundreds of bets placed by each athlete, according to the Associated Press.

A criminal investigation into illegal activity surrounding sports betting in Iowa has netted charges against at least five current and former college players, including Cyclones star quarterback Hunter Dekkers. 
Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann, File)

Each of the four athletes tied to the Iowa State investigation allegedly placed bets by concealing their identity, according to breaking coverage by the Register.

Dekkers allegedly placed improper bets using his mother’s name as a cover, the AP reported. The Big 12 standout is reported by the AP to have placed 366 online bets totaling over $2,799 on matchups that included 26 Iowa State events and a 2021 Oklahoma State-Iowa State game.

The other Iowa State current or former players charged include:

  • Denver Bronco defensive end and former Iowa State player Eyioma Uwazurike. The AP reports that Uwazurike allegedly made 801 bets totaling over $21,300, including four bets on Iowa State games. Uwazurike was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in June for improper betting on league games.
  • Iowa State wrestler Paniro Johnson allegedly placed 1,283 bets totaling over $45,600 – including around 25 bets on Iowa State sporting events, the AP reported.
  • Iowa State offensive lineman Dodge Sauser, who the AP reports is accused of making approximately 113 bets totaling $3,075 including 12 bets on Iowa State football games.

Additionally, former University of Iowa baseball player Gehrig Christensen faces charges tied to a broader state investigation of improper sports betting among Iowa players, per the Register.

NCAA Eligibility in Jeopardy

Criminal cases against the players are still unfolding pending court appearances later this month. But what happens in court — and what the NCAA decides in regards to a current player’s eligibility – are technically separate matters.

A recent change in NCAA gambling rules probably doesn’t bode well for Dekkers, Johnson, Sauser, or other players who may be implicated in school betting scandals.

Adopted in June, the new NCAA Division 1 guidelines “calls for a permanent collegiate ban if any player is found to have bet on their games, influenced the outcome of those games, bet on other sports at their school or knowingly provided information to someone engaged in sports betting,” the AP reports.

Betting on another college or university competing in the athlete’s sport can result in a half-season suspension and required completion of “an educational program on sports wagering rules” in order to be eligible for reinstatement, per the article.

This story is developing.

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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