Collegiate sports under scrutiny

Iowa: Multiple athletes charged in illegal sports gambling investigation

Reading time 2:24 min

A sweeping investigation into sports gambling in Iowa has resulted in a series of criminal charges filed against seven current or former athletes, casting a shadow over the collegiate sports landscape. Among the individuals facing charges are ex-Hawkeyes basketball player Ahron Ulis and Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers.

The allegations center around tampering with records linked to an ongoing Iowa Criminal Division inquiry into sports gambling activities, raising concerns about a loss of eligibility for violating NCAA gambling rules.

According to Johnson County online court records, the individuals who have been charged include Ulis, Iowa baseball player Gehrig Christensen, and Iowa kicker Aaron Blom, reports Associated Press.

Meanwhile, in Story County, Dekkers, along with ISU football player Dodge Sauser, ISU wrestler Paniro Johnson, and former football player Eyioma Uwazurike, face similar charges.

The legal representation of these athletes has not been disclosed, and the investigation is reportedly still in progress, with the possibility of further charges looming.

The allegations against Ahron Ulis, who had transferred to Nebraska after his stint with the Hawkeyes, revolve around his purported involvement in placing online wagers on a FanDuel account under his brother's name while being underage.

The complaint outlines that Ulis placed over 1,850 bets, amounting to more than $34,800, with a significant portion of these wagers directed at NCAA basketball and football games.

Gehrig Christensen, a notable baseball player for the University of Iowa, is accused of engaging in 559 wagers totaling $2,400 through DraftKings Sportsbook. Of particular note is that these bets encompassed 23 wagers placed on Iowa sporting events, and the account was established under the name of his mother.

Aaron Blom, an Iowa kicker who participated in two games as a walk-on player, faces allegations of over 170 instances of placing underage mobile or online sports wagers.

These bets, totaling over $4,400, were conducted using a DraftKings account established under his mother's name. The complaint highlights that one of Blom's wagers was related to the 2021 Iowa-Iowa State football game.

Hunter Dekkers, an ISU football player, is at the center of accusations involving 366 online bets with a cumulative value exceeding $2,799. A significant portion of these bets encompassed 26 Iowa State athletic events and a football game involving Oklahoma State in 2021. Dekkers did not actively participate in the game in question.

For his part, Sauser is alleged to have set up a DraftKings account under his mother’s name and placed about 113 bets totaling $3,075 between April and October 2022, with a total of 12 bets placed on ISU football games.

Lastly, Johnson, the 2023 Big 12 wrestling champion, between August 2021 and October 2022 used a DraftKings account under a different person’s name to place 1,283 wagers totaling $45,640, with 25 bets on ISU sporting events.

The charges and allegations have sent shockwaves through the Iowa collegiate sports scene. Officials at both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University had previously announced their collaboration with state gaming regulators to investigate illegal online gambling activities within their campuses.

“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 will take time before being completely resolved,” said athletic director Jamie Pollard.

As legal sports betting continues to gain traction across various states, experts predict that college sports may experience more incidents of gambling-related scandals. The heightened scrutiny surrounding such cases prompted the NCAA to impose stricter penalties for athletes found to have bet on their games, manipulated game outcomes, or provided insider information to individuals engaged in sports betting.

Leave your comment
Subscribe to our newsletter
Enter your email to receive the latest news
By entering your email address, you agree to Yogonet's Condiciones de uso and Privacy Policies. You understand Yogonet may use your address to send updates and marketing emails. Use the Unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.