Iowa Gov. Reynolds opens up about student betting scandal

Gov. Kim Reynolds
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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has praised investigators for uncovering the betting scandal that has rocked both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University

Per Radio Iowa, Gov. Reynolds noted that the scandal came as a surprise to the authorities but has noted that the investigators had been alerted to potential misdoings on the college campuses. 

She explained: “They did their job. They receive inquiries about an issue and they do what they do. They responded to that and I think they were surprised at some of the results that they found.”

Earlier this year, 11 student-athletes were reprimanded for breaching NCAA betting guidance, with criminal action being taken against them. For nine of the offenders, just a $645 fine was issued, however, 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. 

While 11 were formally scolded for their part, up to 50 student-athletes are believed to have been investigated as part of a probe into illegal betting. 

Gov. Reynolds stressed the importance of tackling these issues, which she labeled as “preventable”. She cited the need for further education programs to better equip students with the knowledge to avoid betting. 

“We just have to do better education, make sure that these kids understand the consequences of doing this,” Gov. Reynolds added. “This is preventable. Just because it’s so available and it’s so easy, we might need to double down on our efforts to make sure they understand the consequences that are involved going forward.”

In the wake of the student betting crisis, which also reared its head in Ohio, the NCAA updated its guidance on what it would do to those found guilty of breaching the rules when it comes to sports wagering. 

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.