Five student-athletes from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have filed guilty pleas to charges of underage gambling as part of an extensive sports betting investigation. The probe has led to pressing charges against more than 12 student-athletes at the two aforementioned state schools.
On September 6th, quarterback Hunter Dekkers and linemen Jacob Rebsburg and Dodge Sauser from Iowa State University, and former kicker Aaron Blom and baseball player Gehrig Christensen from the University of Iowa all pleaded guilty to charges of underage gambling. All five of them initially faced charges of tampering with records as part of an illegal gambling venture, which is an aggravated wrongdoing that could have ended up with a two-year imprisonment sentence. The tampering charges, however, were dismissed, with each of the aforementioned student-athletes set to pay a monetary penalty for underage gambling, which is a simple misdemeanor. In Iowa, this fine amounts to $645.
Neither one of the five student-athletes will face any more criminal punishments, according to the terms of their guilty pleas.
According to Mark Weinhardt, the legal representative of the three Iowa State football team players who pleaded guilty, the original records tampering case had not fit the case either factually or legally, and the charge has nothing to do with gambling.
As previously reported, over 36 current and former student-athletes from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have been implicated, with all of them currently facing criminal charges, suspension from their teams, or both.
Underage Gambling Considered a Simple Misdemeanor under Existing Iowa Rules
In his guilty plea, Hunter Dekkers admitted to using his mother’s name to place more than 250 bets, including one on the Iowa State football team while he was part of it. The wagers were estimated at over $2,700. It was not clear whether the terms of the guilty plea meant that the player admitted to placing a singular bet on his team, or not. Under the existing rules of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), athletes are permanently ineligible in case they are found guilty of placing bets on sporting events that involve their school. Dekkers did not take part in the fall preseason camp practices of Iowa State University.
In his guilty plea, the lineman Dodge Sauser admitted that he placed approximately $3,075 as wagers, including a bet on a game of his school in which he did not play. Sauser is no longer part of the team. Allegedly, the account with DraftKings he controlled has placed a total of 12 wagers on Iowa State football games, including some last year competitions against West Virginia, Ohio, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State.
Jacob Remsburg admitted to placing bets worth at least $1,108 on other NCAA events but not games involving Iowa State University football. Under some new gambling rules introduced by the National Collegiate Athletics Association, players could lose up to 50% of their eligibility for a single season for betting on another school in the same sport. As a source familiar with the situation revealed on September 1st, Remsburg has faced a six-game suspension by the NCAA.
Aaron Blom, on the other hand, admitted placing a $40 bet on a men’s college basketball game on January 28th, 2021. He was under the legal gambling age at the time, as he turned Iowa’s legal gambling age in September of the next year. He faced accusations of placing 170 mobile wagers totalling over $4,400 through a DraftKings account in the period from January 28th, 2021 to February 22nd, 2022.
Twenty-year-old Gehrig Christensen pleaded guilty to placing an underage sports bet on or about November 7th, 2022. The charges against him also involved him making bets through February 23rd, 2023 while he was a member of the University of Iowa baseball team. Reportedly, the majority of his wagers were placed on National Basketball Association (NBA) games.