Iowa & ISU Involved in College Baseball Betting Scandal

The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission is investigating a recent sports betting scandal involving the baseball teams at both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.

At least 41 student-athletes across the two teams are suspected of partaking in Iowa sports betting activity, which — if proven — would be a direct violation of NCAA rules.

Iowa Gaming Investigates Sports Betting Scandal

University officials became privy to the issue last Tuesday, May 2nd, after receiving a list of names from local law enforcement.

Iowa and Iowa State both took swift action, flagging the NCAA about these potential violations almost immediately.

Next, athletes were notified and suspended from participating in upcoming sporting events.

It wasn’t until last Friday night, after an unusual Iowa men’s baseball lineup caught the attention of fans, that the news became public.

Iowa released a statement that same evening.

Iowa’s Board of Regents noted:

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

The wagering at issue was said to have been conducted online, though specific details were not revealed.

NCAA Rules Prohibit Sports Betting

Come Monday, more specifics came to light. The University of Iowa announced it suspects 26 athletes as well as one full-time athletic department employee to have violated NCAA rules by betting on sports.

Those suspected Iowa athletes were members of five specific sports teams:

  • baseball
  • football
  • men’s basketball
  • men’s track & field
  • wrestling

In total, Iowa says the issues concern roughly 111 individuals. The majority of these people, however, are former athletes, students on staff, or students with no connection to the athletic department.

Meanwhile at Iowa State University, another 15 football, wrestling, and track and field athletes are suspected of violating NCAA gambling rules.

Due to confidentiality rules, the NCAA says it doesn’t intend to comment on the investigation.

The Iowa Gaming Commission, on the other hand, plans to reveal more specifics in due time, saying:

“There is an ongoing investigation into these matters and we are unable to comment further at this time. 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.”

NCAA Rules Prohibit Sports Betting

Iowa became one of the first states to legalize sports betting in 2019 after the repeal of PASPA, a federal statute that banned regulated sports betting.

Since then, sports fans have placed close to $6 billion in wagers at in-person and online sportsbooks in Iowa, resulting in over $25 million in tax revenue for the state.

While sportsbooks may be legal in Iowa, NCAA sports betting rules have a different take on the matter.

NCAA athletes, coaches, and staff are prohibited from wagering on any amateur, collegiate, and professional sporting event or league with ties to the NCAA.

That means NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL betting are all off limits.

Iowa Latest Among College Betting Scandal

NCAA rules also prohibit athletes and related individuals from sharing insider information for wagering purposes.

Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be an issue in this latest case.

Director of Gaming Brian Ohorilko said the commission has seen no suspicious wagering or match-fixing activity that would suggest the Iowa sports betting market was compromised.

Other recent scandals, however, tell a different tale.

Just last week, Alabama baseball coach Brad Bohannon was fired amid rumors of suspicious betting activity.

Bohannon was said to be in direct contact with an individual placing bets on the April 28 Crimson Tide matchup against LSU. The allegation has since been confirmed by video surveillance from the sportsbook, though the investigation remains ongoing.