Seven current and former Iowa college athletes criminally charged in gambling probe

August 3, 2023
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All seven have been accused of tampering with records related to an Iowa Criminal Division investigation into sports gambling.

Criminal charges have been filed against seven current and former athletes at Iowa and Iowa State for their alleged involvement in gambling.

Each of the seven athletes – including current Cyclones Quarterback Hunter Dekkers and former Hawkeyes basketball player Ahron Ulis – is accused of tampering with records related to an Iowa Criminal Division investigation into sports gambling.

The current players face a loss of eligibility for violating NCAA gambling rules.

For the Hawkeyes, charges have been filed in Johnson County, Iowa against Ulis, Iowa baseball player Gehrig Christensen and Iowa kicker Aaron Blom.

For the Cyclones, charges have been filed in Story County against Dekkers, ISU football player Dodge Sauser, ISU wrestler Paniro Johnson and former football player Eyioma Uwazurike.

Uwazurike was drafted by the National Football League’s Denver Broncos in 20222. He was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for betting on Broncos games during his rookie season.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says the investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be filed.

Ulis transferred to Nebraska after starting 27 games for the Hawkeyes last season. He is accused of placing online wagers on a FanDuel Sportsbook account created under the name of his brother, according to a complaint.

Christensen appeared in 11 baseball games for the Hawkeyes last season. He is accused of using his phone to make 559 wagers totaling $2,400 with DraftKings Sportsbook – with 23 placed on Iowa sporting events. The DraftKings account was under his mom’s name.

Blom, a walk-on kicker last season who appear in two games in 2022, allegedly used a DraftKings account under his mom’s name and made about 170 mobile or online sports wagers. About eight were place on Iowa sporting events, including one on the 2021 Iowa-Iowa State football game.

Dekkers, the Cyclones’ quarterback, is accused of placing 366 bets online. Twenty-six of those bets allegedly were on Iowa State athletic events, including the Cyclones’ 2021 football game against Oklahoma State. Dekkers was a backup in that game and did not play.

Dekkers is expected to be the second-string quarter back for the Cyclones this season. He reportedly will be skipping preseason camp.

Sauser allegedly set up a DraftKings account under his mom’s name and placed about 113 bets. A total of 12 were placed on ISU football games against Ohio, West Virginia , Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Sauser didn’t play in those games.

Johnson was the 2023 Big 12 wrestling champion at 149 pounds. He allegedly used a DraftKings account under another person’s name to place 1,283 wagers, with 25 bets on ISU sporting events.

In May, leaders at Iowa State and Iowa announced they were cooperating with state gambling regulators who were investigating illegal online gambling at their universities. Iowa said it identified 26 athletes in several sports that might have compromised their NCAA eligibility. Iowa State said about 15 athletes across three sports could have violated gambling rules.  

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