Iowa and Iowa State Press Criminal Charges Against Seven Athletes for Illegal Wagers

Iowa and Iowa State pressed criminal charges against seven current or former athletes for the involvement in illegal gambling activities. The charges follow an investigation into sports betting conducted by the Iowa Criminal Division that revealed the respective offenses. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), ex-Hawkeyes basketball player Ahron Ulis and Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers are accused of having committed the most serious offenses of all the seven athletes while the currently active ones are also facing penalties for violating the NCAA gambling rules.

Charges Filed, Athletes Plead Not Guilty:

Criminal charges have reportedly also been filed against Iowa baseball player Gehrig Christensen, Iowa kicker Aaron Blom, ISU football player Dodge Sauser, ISU wrestler Paniro Johnson, and former football player Eyioma Uwazurike, who was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in 2022 for placing illegal wagers.

As reported, the Iowa Department of Public Safety stated on August 2, 2023 that the investigation is still in progress and that it might impose additional charges. At the same time, the attorneys representing Dekkers and Sauser reportedly said that these athletes would plead not guilty.

Highest-Profiled Bettors:

Hunter Dekkers and Ahron Ulis are reportedly suspected of having the highest illegal betting profiles. The AP reports that Dekkers is accused of placing 366 online wagers amounting to more than $2,799 to include a 2021 football game with Oklahoma State. As reported, he was allegedly a backup in the game that Iowa State won. His contribution to the Cyclones this season as the starting quarterback is now reportedly compromised by the ongoing investigation.

At the same time, Ulis is reportedly accused of placing online bets under the name of his brother. The allegations include his underage gambling activity which is reportedly illegal in Iowa. As reported by the Associated Press, he is suspected of having used his phone to make around 1,850 wagers amounting to more than $34,800 over the period from February 2021 to December 2022 on more than 430 NCAA basketball and football events.

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Different Wagering Accounts Used:

Likewise, other athletes are accused of violating the law that prohibits former and current athletes to bet on sporting events. Christensen is reportedly suspected of having used an account on his mother’s name to place 559 wagers from last November to February 2023. He allegedly wagered a total of $2,400 by placing 23 bets on Iowa games alone. Blom is reportedly accused of following the same pattern to place around 170 underage bets amounting to $4,400.

Also, the source reports that the alleged Sauser’s offense was the placement of about 113 wagers totaling $3,075. According to the AP, the complaint includes the allegations that the ISU player committed the offense in the same manner as Blom and Christensen, over the period from April to October 2022. The complaint reportedly indicated that Sauser did not play in the ISU games that he wagered on. Paniro Johnson, the 2023 Big 12 wrestling champion, allegedly used different account details to place 1,283 wagers worth $45,640.

NCAA Eligibility Issues:

As the AP reports, Iowa and Iowa State revealed in May 2023 that they were working with the competent state authorities to detect illegal online gambling at their premises. At the time, they reportedly identified 26 athletes who might have violated NCAA regulations and about 15 athletes who might have been violating gambling rules.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard reportedly said: “Since becoming aware of potential NCAA eligibility issues related to sports wagering by several of our student-athletes in May, Iowa State University has been actively working to address these issues with the involved student-athletes. This process is ongoing and mnl168 will take time before being completely resolved.”

Pollard added: “Iowa State Athletics educates its student-athletes, coaches and staff on NCAA rules and State of Iowa law surrounding sports wagering and will continue to emphasize the importance of understanding and adhering to these regulations moving forward.”

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