Former Iowa State starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers and four other Iowa athletes have pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of underage gambling. according to ESPN.
Dekkers, ISU offensive lineman Jake Remsburg, former ISU player Dodge Sauser, former Iowa kicker Aaon Blom and former Iowa baseball player Gehrig Christense have all reportedly pleaded guilty after a state investigation into sports betting has more than 10 current counts and former student athletes had been accused of making illegal bets.
The group was initially charged with a felony record-tampering offense, which carried a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Dekkers and the four others have pleaded guilty to underage gambling and reportedly face only a $645 fine with no further criminal penalties.
“The original tampering charges against these young men do not fit this case in law or fact,” attorney Mark Weinhardt, representing Dekkers, Remsburg and Sauser, said in a statement. “Hunter, Jake and Dodge are not, and have never been, guilty of this allegation. The allegation has nothing to do with gambling. Aside from the fact that Hunter, Jake and Dodge made some bets before the age of 21, there was nothing in those bets that was a crime under Iowa law.”
While the legal ramifications could be limited to a three-figure fine, the bigger problem for active student athletes will likely be how the NCAA handles their eligibility. Iowa defensive tackle Noah Shannon has already been suspended for the season by the NCAA, but the Hawkeyes have appealed the decision.
Under NCAA rules, betting on a student-athlete’s own team may be penalized with permanent ineligibility. Dekkers falls into this group because the redshirt junior reportedly bet on the 2021 Iowa State football game against Oklahoma State.
In all, Dekkers reportedly finalized a plan with his parents to place 366 sports bets worth over $2,799 on his DraftKings account, with 26 of them involving Iowa State athletics. He reportedly remains on the Iowa State roster but is currently not involved in team activities, having started all 12 games for the Cyclones last season.
With Dekkers sidelined, Iowa State opened its season with redshirt rookie Rocco Becht starting under center in last Saturday’s 30-9 win over Northern Iowa. Becht managed 10 of 13 for 113 passing yards and two touchdowns, plus another touchdown on the ground.