NCAA Lessens Punishments For Betting Violations As Iowa Probes Continue

Written By Adam Hensley on July 8, 2023
NCAA lessens punishments for student-athletes who bet on sports

University of Iowa and Iowa State University made headlines earlier this year when news broke of student-athletes betting on sports.

Current NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes, coaches, and other staff members from betting on sports that have an NCAA championship. For instance, an Iowa baseball player would be unable to bet on an NBA regular-season game because the NCAA has a basketball championship.

Many speculated that these infractions could lead to season-long suspensions. These athletes competed in a number of sports, including football, wrestling, track and field, baseball, and basketball. One staff member from Iowa was on the list, but they are not a current or former coach.

For now, it appears that those involved in the scandal will face less of a punishment than most speculated originally.

Iowa college athletes currently face NCAA punishment for sports betting

Iowa online sports betting has been brisk, especially after the state’s prohibition of remote registering ended in 2020. It is legal to bet on college sports in Iowa, but prop bets on individual college athletes are not allowed. Students-athletes must adhere to NCAA gambling laws.

In May, Iowa officials announced that 26 current student-athletes and a staff member were suspected of violating NCAA rules on sports betting. More than 100 former student-athletes were reportedly under investigation.

At the same time, Iowa State estimated that 15 of its student-athletes were in the same boat.

It’s worth noting that no names have officially been connected to the betting investigation. The list has not been made public. People have speculated, though.

Around the time of the investigation, Keaton Anthony – one of Iowa baseball’s star players – was a notable absence in a series against Ohio State. Anthony did not appear in another game for the rest of the season.

NCAA updates punishments for gambling violators

Again, we don’t know what exactly these athletes wagered on. But it was not their own sports, Brian Ohorilko of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission told Action Network when news first broke.

“We review the types of wagers that come in and how suspicious they are. We have no reason to believe that there’s anything like that here. There wasn’t anything giving us pause or leading us to believe that any of these markets were compromised.”

The NCAA released updated punishments for violations reported on or after May 2. Iowa and Iowa State’s issues fit that timeline.

These new punishments are based on the amount of money wagered by the athletes on sports. This does not include those who bet on their own competitions, but rather those who’d place a bet on a professional sport.

Athletes who bet up to $200 face a suspension of up to 10% of their season and must partake in sports wagering rules and prevention classes. Those who wager $201-$500 face the same penalty. Under previous NCAA guidelines, this wager range could have resulted in a suspension of 50% of a season.

Athletes who wager between $501 and $800 now face a suspension of 20% of their season and educational classes. Those who bet more than $800 face a 30% suspension and courses.

The new changes to the higher bet totals are noteworthy. Previously, a bet of more than $500 could have resulted in a season-long suspension.

If Iowa or Iowa State athletes (or any school, for that matter) were to have bet on their own events or provide insider information that could influence betting trends, they could face permanent loss of eligibility. According to the new NCAA rules, that also applies to those who wager on other sports from their same schools.

Even professional athletes aren’t immune to sports betting punishments

Sports betting punishments aren’t just applicable at the collegiate level.

In June, the NFL announced penalties for four players who gambled, violating league policy. Indianapolis Colts Isaiah Rodgers Sr. and Rashod Berry received season-long suspensions. Following the announcement, the team cut both players.

The NFL also handed free agent Demetrius Taylor the same punishment. Tennessee Titan Nicholas Petit-Frere will serve a six-game suspension.

Rodgers, though, was the biggest name on the list. His bets made waves, too. He allegedly made at least one wager on a Colts game. One of those bets was a $1,000 prop bet on the over/under for rushing yards by one of his teammates. There’s no official word on whether Rodgers bet on the over or under, but he ended up winning his bet.

The message is clear: The NFL will not stand for gambling on its games. It’s even suspended players for betting on non-NFL games while in team facilities.

And that’s the approach the NCAA wants to take if athletes are caught wagering on their own events. The NCAA wants to eradicate anything that could compromise the integrity of its game. Players gambling on their own events would do just that.

But betting on NFL, NBA, or MLB games? That’s a bit of a different story. Betting on those leagues does not impact the outcome of a collegiate event. And it appears the NCAA realizes that, as evident in its latest punishment revisions.

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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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