Iowa State starting quarterback and suspended NFL player among those charged in gambling investigation

Hunter Dekkers, the starting quarterback for all 12 Iowa State football games last season, is among several athletes who have been charged in Iowa district court in Story County in connection with an investigation into alleged student-athlete gambling at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.

Dekkers faces a charge of tampering with records, with the state alleging Dekkers attempted to disguise his identity while betting on sports events. The criminal complaint alleges bets were made from Dekkers’ phone using a DraftKings account set up under the name of a family member. He has denied the accusations.

A former Iowa State football player who was recently suspended by the NFL, a current Cyclones player and a wrestler were also charged.

Dekkers is alleged to have placed approximately 366 bets totaling over $2,799, with 26 of those bets involving Iowa State events, including a 2021 football game in which he did not play, according to the complaint. The complaint alleges Dekkers, a redshirt junior, was under the age of 21 at the time when he used DraftKings, below the legal betting age in Iowa.

Current National Collegiate Athletics Association guidelines state that athletes “who engage in activities to influence the outcomes of their own games or knowingly provide information to individuals involved in sports betting activities will potentially face permanent loss of collegiate eligibility in all sports. This would also apply to student-athletes who wager on their own games or on other sports at their own schools.”

Quarterback steps away to fight charge

Dekker’s attorney, Mark Weinhardt, said in a statement Wednesday that Dekkers “denies the criminal charge brought against him” and that he was charged “with a serious business records crime that does not apply to this situation even if the allegations against him were correct.”

“This charge attempts to criminalize a daily fact of American life. Millions of people share online accounts of all kinds every day,” Weinhardt says in the statement.

Dekkers will step away from the team to focus on his defense, according to his attorney.

Denver Broncos defensive lineman Eyioma Uwazurike was charged with tampering with records. Prosecutors allege he used someone else’s name to place roughly 800 sports bets on FanDuel totaling over $21,000, including two Iowa State football games in the 2021 season in which Uwazurike participated.

Last week, Uwazurike was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for gambling on league games in 2022. He can petition for reinstatement in one year.

The criminal complaint alleges the FanDuel account linked to Uwazurike placed 32 bets involving Broncos games after he had been drafted by the Broncos. The complaint also alleges there were five specific games that Uwazurike bet on. The defensive lineman played in all five, according to his team profile.

Iowa State sophomore wrestler Paniro Johnson, who won a Big 12 Conference wrestling title last season, is alleged to have made approximately 1,283 sports bets totaling over $45,000, including 25 wagers placed on Iowa State University sports events.

Cyclones redshirt sophomore football player Dodge Sauser is accused of placing roughly 113 sports bets totaling over $3,000. The complaint alleges Sauser made 12 wagers on Iowa State football games, including bets on four games last season.

Iowa State athletics department says compliance staff working with NCAA

According to a statement from Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard, the university has been working with the “involved student-athletes,” a process that is ongoing.

“Iowa State cannot comment on any student-athletes’ circumstance or eligibility status,” Pollard said. “We will, however, continue to support our student-athletes as our compliance staff works with the NCAA to sort out questions surrounding their future eligibility for intercollegiate athletics competition.”

Athletes, coaches and staff are educated on state gambling laws and NCAA policies, Pollard added.

The Iowa Board of Regents said it is aware of the charges and is monitoring closely.

“The Board and our universities have and will continue to fully cooperate with any investigations. We have full confidence that campus administrators will take all necessary steps to ensure ongoing compliance,” the board said in a statement.

In May, Iowa’s university system announced that 26 current student-athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University were being investigated for allegedly violating NCAA rules by gambling on sporting events.

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