Five current and former student-athletes from Iowa State University and the University of Iowa have pleaded guilty to reduced charges in the state’s investigation into illegal sports betting. Instead of risking jail time, they have agreed to pay a fine. The athletes involved are Hunter Dekkers, Jake Remsburg, and Dodge Sauser from Iowa State, and Aaron Blom and Gehrig Christensen from the University of Iowa. The charges they pleaded guilty to is underage gambling, which carries a $645 fine and no jail sentence. Previously, they had been charged with tampering, which is a more serious offense with a potential sentence of up to two years.
According to NCAA rules, student-athletes who gamble on games they compete in or on competitions involving their school may face permanent loss of their collegiate eligibility in all sports. Dekkers, Sauser, and Blom placed bets on their respective teams, while Christensen placed bets on other Iowa athletics events. Dekkers and Remsburg are still listed on the Iowa State football team’s online roster, but there is no information on their current status. Sauser had already left the team voluntarily after the investigation and charges were announced. Blom is no longer with the Iowa football team, and Christensen had already left the Iowa baseball program before charges were filed.
Attorneys for Dekkers, Remsburg, and Sauser have stated that the original charges of tampering with records did not fit the case and that their clients are not guilty. They argue that the only state law they broke was placing bets before turning 21 years old. Dekkers was the starting quarterback for Iowa State last season, Remsburg was a senior offensive lineman, and Sauser did not appear in any games during his redshirt freshman season.
In total, 16 current and former Iowa and Iowa State student-athletes, as well as other individuals, have been charged with placing illegal bets and tampering with records to conceal their involvement. At least five of them placed illegal bets on games in which they participated. Beyond those facing charges, other student-athletes may also face penalties from the NCAA for violating their rules against betting on college sports.
Recently, serious charges were filed in the investigation against former Iowa State football player Eyioma Uwazurike and current Iowa State wrestler Paniro Johnson. They were charged with Class D felony identity theft, which carries a punishment of up to five years in jail and a fine. They also still face an earlier charge of tampering with records, which is an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years. Uwazurike and Johnson have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.