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Iowa, Iowa St. investigating athletes gambling


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The University of Iowa announced Monday that 26 athletes across five sports (baseball, football, men’s basketball, men’s track and field, wrestling) and one full-time employee of the athletic department are suspected of wagering on sports in violation of NCAA rules.

In addition, Iowa State acknowledged that some 15 of its athletes across three sports (football, wrestling and track and field) also are suspected of violating gambling rules.

Iowa said it “has received information about 111 individuals,” although only 26 are current athletes. The school said the “vast majority” are students who are on staff, former athletes or those with no connection to the athletic department.

The announcements came days after Alabama fired baseball coach Brad Bohannon amid an investigation into suspicious betting activity on the Crimson Tide’s game against LSU on April 28. Sportsbook surveillance video indicated that the person who placed the bets was communicating with Bohannon at the time, multiple sources with direct information about the investigation told ESPN. That investigation is ongoing.

Iowa said university leadership was notified May 2 of potential criminal conduct related to sports wagering that also suggested possible NCAA violations. Law enforcement last Wednesday provided the university with a list of individuals alleged to have participated in sports wagering.

In response, the university notified several athletes they would not be participating in upcoming competitions and alerted the NCAA to potential violations.

The state Board of Regents said in a statement that the wagering was conducted online at Iowa and Iowa State.

“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 regents said.

NCAA rules prohibit athletes, coaches and staff from betting on amateur, collegiate and professional sports in which the NCAA conducts a championship. For example, athletes cannot bet on NFL games even if state laws would legally allow them to do so if they weren’t competing under NCAA rules.

The Iowa Gaming Commission confirmed earlier Monday that it was investigating Iowa athletics after the university announced Friday that it withheld athletes from competition because of a potential NCAA violation. Iowa’s statement was released after an Iowa-Ohio State baseball game in response to questions about an unnamed student-athlete who was not in the lineup.

“There is an ongoing investigation into these matters and we are unable to comment further at this time,” the Iowa Gaming Commission said in a statement. “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.”

Brian Ohorilko, the director of gaming for the commission, said there is no evidence of match fixing or suspicious wagering activity.

“There wasn’t anything giving us pause or leading us to believe that any of these markets were compromised,” he told the Action Network.

A spokesperson for the NCAA told ESPN in an email that, “Due to confidentiality rules put in place by NCAA member schools, the NCAA does not comment on current, pending or potential investigations.”

Iowa is among the 33 states that has launched legal betting markets in the past five years, since a decision from the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal statute that had restricted regulated sports betting to primarily Nevada.

ESPN’s David Purdum and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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