The unfolding saga of sports gambling in Iowa has taken another turn as seven football players from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University find themselves under scrutiny for their involvement in betting on their own games. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (IDCI) filed charges against these football players, marking a significant development in the ongoing sports gambling probe.
The football players involved
Among those named in the latest round of allegations are Isaiah Lee, a defensive tackle from Iowa State, and several University of Iowa football players, including Jirehl Brock, DeShawn Hanika, and Jack Johnson. Also charged are former Iowa football players Arland Bruce IV and Reggie Bracy, along with a student manager for the Iowa football team named Owen O’Brien.
The charges revolve around tampering with records in relation to electronic betting activities. If found guilty, the individuals could face penalties ranging from fines between $855 and $8,540, to a maximum of two years in prison. These charges follow an extensive investigation that began earlier this year when the NCAA disclosed numerous student-athletes from Iowa schools were being probed for gambling-related policy violations.
Among the implicated University of Iowa athletes, Johnson, a wide receiver, stands accused of placing bets using an account established by his mother on DraftKings. Johnson, who was underage at the time, reportedly placed over 380 wagers, including bets on Iowa football games in which he did not play.
Bruce, a former Iowa starting wide receiver, allegedly made 132 bets, with 11 of them relating to games he participated in, including a points total wager against Northwestern. Bracy, a safety, made 66 wagers totaling $715, with two of those bets on games in which he played.
NCAA’s changing guidelines – are they retroactive?
The involvement of these players in gambling activities occurred before the NCAA’s recent revision of its guidelines, which now permanently disqualify student-athletes who wager on their own sports or on games involving their own institutions.
Turning to the Iowa State players, Brock, a starting running back, allegedly placed over 1,327 bets amounting to more than $12,000 using a friend’s name and account. These bets spanned 13 Iowa State basketball games and several football games, some of which he played in.
Lee, a defensive lineman, reportedly placed bets using his fiancée’s FanDuel account, with 12 of his 21 wagers being on Iowa State games he participated in. Hanika, a contender for a starting position at tight end, made around 288 bets on DraftKings using his mother’s account. Interestingly, all of Hanika’s wagers were on sports other than college football.
Being more keen on betting regulations
The recent charges contribute to a larger narrative involving Iowa and Iowa State athletes. In early August, three Iowa student-athletes, including point guard Ahron Ulis, catcher Gehrig Christensen, and kicker Aaron Blom, were charged with similar offenses. Iowa State starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers also faced allegations of gambling on Iowa State sporting events.
The developments have raised concerns about these athletes’ future eligibility, highlighting the complex interaction between sports, gambling, and collegiate regulations. Universities and sports institutions have been working closely with the NCAA to address these issues and determine the implications for these football players’ athletic careers.
As the investigation unfolds, it underscores the ongoing need for clear guidelines and educational initiatives to ensure that student-athletes make informed decisions regarding gambling, while preserving the integrity of college sports.
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