IOWA — Dozens of student-athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University are the focus of an investigation into potential illegal gambling, but there is no evidence of suspicious wagering on Cyclone or Hawkeye games, the head of gaming oversight in the state says.
On Monday evening the two schools confirmed they were aware that the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating potential criminal activity tied to sports gambling by members of the schools’ athletic departments. ISU says that 15 athletes across the football, wrestling and track teams were being investigated. The University of Iowa announced 26 athletes in the baseball, football, men’s basketball, track and wrestling teams, as well as more than 80 other individuals – including student staff and former athletes – were being investigated.
None of those players’ names have been released and no suspensions have been announced. The University of Iowa has announced that some unnamed players are being withheld from the baseball team pending the results of the investigation.
Despite the ominous nature of the charges, the head of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says there is no evidence that any Cyclone or Hawkeye games were tampered with. There is “no information of any suspicious wagering activity involving Iowa or Iowa State games. (There) hasn’t been anything to raise integrity doubts; no evidence at this time of match-fixing or point-shaving,” Brian Ohorilko, Director of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission tells WHO 13.
Without offering details, Ohorilko says there are safeguards in place to stop suspicious wagers. Those safeguards were apparent last week when bets were stopped on an LSU-Alabama baseball game following a suspicious wager in Ohio. That bet was traced back to Alabama’s head baseball coach, Brad Bohannon, who has since been fired. That is not what led to the investigation of Iowa and Iowa State.
“We review wagers that come in and how suspicious they are. We have had integrity alerts in the past,” Ohorilko tells WHO 13, “LSU vs Alabama baseball last week was one. We’ve had UFC integrity alerts. We have had none for Iowa or Iowa State markets (games).”
And, unlike Alabama which had its games taken off the sports book, no Iowa or ISU games are affected. “There are no Iowa or Iowa State athletic events scheduled to be banned or halted,” Ohorilk says.
The Iowa Division of Criminal investigation will only confirm that it is involved in an investigation involving the schools but want answer other questions at this time. “The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s (DCI) Special Enforcement Operations Bureau serves as the primary criminal investigative and enforcement agency for gambling laws in the state of Iowa. The DCI is involved in an ongoing investigation concerning potential criminal violations related to sports wagering, including individuals affiliated with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. The DCI has been in contact with officials from both universities who are cooperating. At this time, no criminal charges have been filed and no further information will be released. The DCI is working cooperatively with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission concerning any potential regulatory violations,” the agency said in an emailed statement.