Further Iowa students admit underage gambling

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Four University of Iowa players have been fined $645 after pleading guilty to underage sports betting, a criminal offence in the state. 

Three footballers and one basketball player were fined by the state court this week following several athletes receiving a similar punishment earlier this month. 

Arland Bruce, Reggie Bracy, Jack Johnson and Ahron Ulis will all pay a fine of $645 for sports wagering under the legal age of 21. 

Earlier this month, Hunter Dekkers, Jake Remsburg, former Iowa State player Dodge Sauser, and former Iowa athletes Aaron Blom and Gehrig Christensen were all fined the same amount after admitting betting on sports illegally. 

The Iowa sports betting scandal has rumbled under the surface for much of 2023, with as many as 50 players being investigated for betting-related offenses. 

In more serious cases, Denver Bronco and Iowa State alum Eyioma Uwazurike and Iowa State wrestler Paniro Johnson are being charged with felony identity theft. Both have denied the charges and face a trial later this year. 

Meanwhile, the NCAA is yet to comment on the matter and has not provided any commentary throughout the process. 

The body did update its rules and guidance relating to sports betting this summer, outlining a tiered approach to punishing players who flout requirements. 

Here are the updated rules in full: “Student-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.

  • If a student-athlete wagers on their own sport at another school, education on sports wagering rules and prevention will be required as a condition of reinstatement, and the loss of 50% of one season of eligibility will be considered.
  • For all other wagering-related violations (e.g., wagering on professional sports), the cumulative dollar value of the wagers will be taken into consideration with the following terms for reinstatement:
    • $200 or less: Sports wagering rules and prevention education.
    • $201-$500: Loss of 10% of a season of eligibility, plus rules and prevention education.
    • $501-$800: Loss of 20% of a season of eligibility, plus rules and prevention education.
    • Greater than $800: Loss of 30% of a season of eligibility, plus rules and prevention education.

Meanwhile, NCAA President Charlie Baker has indicated that the organization could grow closer ties to the sports betting industry despite these issues. 

The NCAA chief told an audience at the Future of College Sports conference that, in order to catch up with rival sporting organizations, it would need to monetize those betting benefits. 

He said: “That’s a major opportunity, right in front of us. We have a major opportunity to get into the sports betting space – anybody who has a phone is able to bet from any place they want, and two-thirds to almost three-quarters of all people between the ages of 18 and 22 are betting on sports.”