Seven athletes charged in gambling sting at Iowa, Iowa State

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Gambling investigations at Iowa and Iowa State have now resulted in criminal charges filed against seven current or former athletes, with ex-Hawkeyes basketball player Ahron Ulis and Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers the ones with the highest profiles.

Each is accused in the complaints of tampering with records related to an Iowa Criminal Division investigation into sports gambling. Current athletes also could face a loss of eligibility for violating NCAA gambling rules.

According to Johnson County online court records, charges have been filed against Ulis, Iowa baseball player Gehrig Christensen and Iowa kicker Aaron Blom.

Dekkers was charged in Story County, as were ISU football player Dodge Sauser, ISU wrestler Paniro Johnson and former football player Eyioma Uwazurike, who was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2022 and suspended indefinitely by the NFL last month for betting on games during his rookie season.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said Wednesday the investigation was ongoing and additional charges could be filed. Attorneys for the athletes were not listed in the complaints.

Mark Weinhardt of Des Moines said he was representing Dekkers and Sauser and that both would plead not guilty. He also said Dekkers, who was expected to be the second-year starting quarterback for the Cyclones this season, would skip preseason camp.

Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said in a statement Wednesday that the process of addressing the issues with the athletes involved is “ongoing and will take time.”

Ulis, who transferred to Nebraska after starting 27 games for the Hawkeyes last season, is accused of placing online wagers on a FanDuel account set up under the name of his brother, one complaint said.

Ulis was under Iowa’s legal gambling age of 21 when, between February 2021 to December 2022, he used his phone to make about 1,850 wagers totaling over $34,800, with at least one placed on an Iowa sporting event and over 430 placed on NCAA basketball and football games, the complaint said.

Christensen, who appeared in 11 baseball games for the Hawkeyes last season, is alleged to have used his phone to make 559 wagers totaling $2,400 with the DraftKings Sportsbook from last November to February, with 23 placed on Iowa sporting events. The account was under his mother’s name.

ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg contributed to this report.


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