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University of Iowa, Iowa State investigate allegations that athletes bet on sports
Dozens of student athletes being investigated for violating NCAA rules
Student athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are being investigated for betting on sports in violation of NCAA rules, both schools confirmed Monday.
The investigations involve 26 UI student athletes across five sports — football, baseball, men’s basketball, men’s wrestling and men’s track and field — and includes one full-time athletics department employee, according to the school. At ISU, the investigation involves “approximately” 15 student-athletes from three sports — football, wrestling and track and field, the campus said.
Both schools said they have notified the NCAA of the potential violations.
It is unclear how both public universities came to announce the investigations on the same day. The state’s third public university, the University of Northern Iowa, is not currently involved in any similar investigation, a spokesman said Monday.
Some UI baseball players were absent from the Hawkeyes’ recent series against Ohio State. That included Keaton Anthony, who had a team-best .389 batting average and had played in the team’s first 43 games. The UI had said Friday in a two-sentence statement that it “withheld some student-athletes” because of an “ongoing investigation” into a possible NCAA violation.
In a statement posted Monday, the UI said it was notified May 2 of “potential criminal conduct related to sports wagering” and has hired outside counsel to assist. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Association, which oversees legalized sports betting in the state, has not started any investigation into violation of state law.
“The University of Iowa and the Department of Athletics are aware of the sports wagering investigation and are fully cooperating,” the school’s athletics department said in the statement. “The athletics department provides education on NCAA rules regarding the prohibition of sports wagering as well as the potential consequences.”
The UI said the investigation does not involve any former or current head coaches. ISU did not mention any involvement of current or former coaches in its statement.
“Iowa State University and its Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is aware of online sports wagering allegations involving approximately 15 of our active student-athletes from the sports of football, wrestling and track and field in violation of NCAA rules,” ISU spokesperson Nick Joos said Monday in an emailed statement. “The university has notified the NCAA and will take the appropriate actions to resolve these issues.”
The Iowa Board of Regents, the body that governs the state’s three public universities, also issued a statement Monday acknowledging the investigations.
“The Board of Regents is aware of concerns related to online gambling involving individuals associated with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University,” the board said. “The Board of Regents and the universities will fully cooperate with any investigations related to these concerns. We are closely monitoring the situation and have confidence that university administrators at each institution will take all necessary steps to ensure ongoing compliance.”
The NCAA prohibits student-athletes, coaches, conference office staff members, institutional athletics staff members and non-athletics department institutional staff members who have responsibilities within or over the athletics department from betting on sports in which the NCAA conducts a championship.
Student athletes found to be violating the betting rules would be ineligible for competition. Penalties are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to the NCAA, and there is an appeals process. Institutional staff members found in violation will be subject to disciplinary or corrective action by the NCAA.
The director of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission said Monday he is aware of an investigation, but could not confirm the target or the subject of the investigation, nor the investigating body. Administrator Brian Ohorilko said the commission is not the entity conducting the investigation, but that he is aware of and monitoring it.
Ohorilko said the commission has not yet taken any action regarding the allegations or investigation.
Multiple states recently suspended betting on the University of Alabama baseball team after allegations of “suspicious wagering activity” involving the team’s coach.
The state of Iowa legalized betting on sports, including college athletics, in 2019.
Iowa universities at the time said they were working to educate their student-athletes about sports betting rules and regulations. UI athletics director Gary Barta at the time said the school was spending "a lot of time and money" on educating its student athletes about sports betting as the law was going into effect.
In fiscal 2022, Iowans bet nearly $2.5 billion on sports, the commission reported.
John Steppe of The Gazette contributed to this report.
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