One of the state agencies involved in the ongoing investigation of alleged sports wagering violations by Iowa and Iowa State athletes announced Thursday no evidence had been discovered to suggest the integrity of any contest involving the schools was affected by gambling interests.
A total of seven current or former athletes at the two schools were criminally charged this week, notably ISU quarterback Hunter Dekkers and ex-Iowa basketball player Ahron Ulis.
All seven are charged with tampering with records, and all are suspected of placing bets on contests involving their own schools. Four are alleged to have wagered on games involving their own teams.
The seven athletes are suspected of combining for more than 5,000 wagers totaling more than $100,000 that were placed between January 2021 through May 2023.
In addition to facing criminal charges, the current athletes could forfeit all or part of their remaining eligibility for violating NCAA gambling rules.
The Iowa Racing and Gambling Commission said in a statement it had reviewed how wagering lines moved, number of wagers, size of wagers, types of wagers and the settlement of related wagers. The commission also worked with organizations that monitor integrity of contests, sportsbooks and gambling markets in other states.
Integrity issues in wagering could range from a bettor having inside information about injuries or a team’s strategy that could affect the outcome to point shaving and match fixing.
“In light of recent charges filed in the state regarding possible sports wagering violations by student athletes, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) would like to affirm that it does not currently have any information that would call into question the integrity of any sports wagering contest or event involving the University of Iowa or Iowa State University,” the IRGC said.
The IRGC said it examines wagering activity with information available from integrity monitoring providers, sportsbooks, other regulatory jurisdictions, sports leagues, law enforcement and the public.
An IRGC spokesman declined to comment further.
The tampering with records charges stem from athletes allegedly concealing their identities by placing bets with online sportsbook accounts registered under the names of close relatives. The legal age for wagering in Iowa is 21, and each of the athletes is suspected to have been underage while making some or all of the bets.
The athletes charged in addition to Dekkers and Ulis are Iowa State football players Dodge Sauser and Eyioma Uwazurike, ISU wrestler Paniro Johnson, Iowa baseball player Gehrig Christensen and Iowa football player Aaron Blom.
Uwazurike is accused of wagering on two games in which he played in 2021, the 27-21 loss to Iowa and 59-7 win over Kansas. He was drafted by Denver in 2022 and suspended indefinitely by the NFL for betting on Broncos games during his rookie season.
Dekkers is suspected of wagering on the 2021 Iowa State-Oklahoma State football game. Dekkers was the backup quarterback and did not play in the Cyclones’ 24-21 win.
Sauser, an offensive lineman, allegedly wagered on the Cyclones’ 2022 football games against Ohio, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. He did not appear in any of the games.
One of Blom’s bets included the 2021 Iowa-Iowa State football game, according to the complaint. The bet Blom placed on the rivalry game was an over-under wager, which requires the bettor to choose whether the teams will combine for more or less than a designated combined point total. The over-under for the game was 45 points, and the total was 44. Blom, who did not participate in the game, chose the under, according to the complaint.
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