Over 40 Iowa, Iowa State Student-Athletes Suspected Of Breaching Gambling Rules

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting


  • 26 Iowa and 15 Iowa State athletes have been linked to the investigation
  • An Alabama baseball game was pulled from Ohio sportsbooks last week
  • Both schools informed the NCAA of the potential violations

More than 40 collegiate student-athletes in Iowa are suspected to have breached the NCAA’s rules regarding gambling.

The University of Iowa announced Monday that 26 athletes across five sports and more than 100 people are believed to have placed sports bets against the terms presented by the governing body. Iowa State University revealed that it also believes 15 athletes across three sports are in the same boat.

Last week, betting odds for Alabama baseball games were pulled from Ohio sportsbooks. A few days later the team’s coach, Brad Bohannon, was fired.

Broken standards

The NCAA has long had a plethora of rules and regulations for athletes, staff, and team personnel to follow. Even in the era of NIL (name, image, likeness) and expanded sovereignty for athletes, they are not allowed to place wagers on sports, no matter if their state offers legal sports betting or not. These rules apply to all people involved in an NCAA team that competes for a championship.

Neither Iowa nor Iowa State revealed if any of the suspected persons were said to have placed bets on sports they participated in. Many professional leagues, although they allow players to bet on other sports, still prevent them from making wagers within their sport. 

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission revealed that it opened an investigation into the Iowa baseball team specifically earlier this week.

“The commission takes the integrity of gaming in the state seriously and is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide any additional information when able,” said Brian Ohorilko, the commission’s director of gaming. 

Meanwhile, Iowa State published an announcement confirming the suspicions. It also revealed that the athletes accused of breaching the NCAA’s gambling bylaws are members of the football, track and field, and wrestling teams.

“Iowa State University and its Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is aware of online sports wagering allegations involving approximately 15 of our active student-athletes from the sports of football, wrestling and track and field in violation of NCAA rules,” said ISU’s announcement. “The university has notified the NCAA and will take the appropriate actions to resolve these issues.” 

Sports betting is illegal for everyone under the age of 21 in Iowa.

Getting to the bottom of the issue

Although nobody has been explicitly named in either of the investigations, four players from Iowa’s baseball team—infielder Keaton Anthony, pitcher Jacob Henderson, catcher Ben Tallman and catcher Gehrig Christensen—were suspended for a three-game series against Ohio State over the weekend.

The school says that it was first informed of potential violations on May 2. Authorities sent the school a list of names of people that are alleged to have participated in sports betting last Wednesday. Iowa suspended those athletes from upcoming competitions and notified the NCAA of the potential violations.

'We are closely monitoring the situation and have confidence that University administrators at each institution will take all necessary steps to ensure ongoing compliance,' said Iowa.

Although there is an obvious link between the recent allegations and last week’s Alabama debacle, they appear to be separate matters. The ‘Bama coach was said to be on the phone with a man inside the Cincinnati Reds´ Great American Ballpark when he communicated his decision not to start star pitcher Luke Holman just an hour before the game.

Odds for Alabama’s baseball team, which was playing nearby rival LSU, were pulled after Ohio regulators noticed abnormally large bets were being placed on the game. 

There have also been other problems related to sports betting and colleges. PointsBet, which is now selling its U.S. operations, was heavily criticized for its partnership with the University of Colorado which allowed it to brand its services all over the athletics facilities. Other schools have also enlisted specialists to discuss the dangers of sports betting with athletes and team personnel.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.