Attorney considers Iowa college sports betting probe ‘warrantless’

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An investigation into illicit sports betting by a group of former college athletes is under fire.

According to a court filing, an agent of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is being accused of initiating a “warrantless search” into student-athletes at Iowa and in-state rival Iowa State.

The accusation comes after the attorney of former Iowa State football players Isaiah Lee and Eyioma Uwazurike filed a motion believing the investigation into wagering on Iowa college campuses should have never taken place.

Lee, who entered the 2023 season as a redshirt senior before leaving the Iowa State football program, was accused of placing more than 100 illicit wagers including bets against Iowa State.

Uwazurike, who now plays for the Denver Broncos, was charged with felony identity theft as part of the investigation which was initiated prior to the 2023 NFL season. As a result of the probe, Uwazurike was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for also allegedly wagering on league games.

The attorney for Lee and Uwazurike believes the betting probe was illegally initiated, claiming that DCI agent Brian Sanger used a software platform without a warrant to identify users of betting apps across Iowa campuses. The motion cites no legal reasoning for Sanger’s probe.

“The result was the indictment of a handful of Iowa’s student-athletes even though the privacy of hundreds had been invaded,” states the motion. “During special agent Sanger’s deposition on Jan. 19, 2024, he stated that he cannot remember why he decided to conduct the warrantless searches but that he was concerned about things such as people infiltrating Iowa’s sports team to gain insider information or match-fixing.”

Per the motion, Sanger had initially approached the DCI about his searches and was told not to proceed. However, he would allegedly continue the probe with its permission after using the software to identify wagering by athletes at Iowa. Sanger is accused of not having any merit for those searches. The motion also disputes that only athletes included in Sanger’s are subject to criminal charges.

“There is a possibility that only high-profile athletes were targeted when charges were filed,” the motion continues.

Lee and Uwazurike join more than eight other athletes at Iowa universities who have been impacted by the investigation into illicit wagering. Last year, nine athletes were fined $645 for underage wagering and breaching the NCAA’s sports betting guidelines. The group included Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers who used his parents’ identities to place wagers.

Iowa defensive lineman Noah Shannon would miss the entire 2023 season for his involvement.