According to a report Tuesday from Travis Hines and Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register, the Story County Attorney’s Office in Ames has filed a criminal complaint against Iowa St. quarterback Hunter Dekkers, charging him with tampering with records related to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s probe into sports gambling.
Dekkers, who started all 12 games for the Cyclones in 2022, stands accused of making 26 bets on Iowa St. sporting events, including a 24-21 non-covering win over Oklahoma St. as a 7.5-point home favorite in 2021. Dekkers did not play in the win over the Cowboys.
According to the complaint, a DraftKings account controlled by Dekkers made 366 mobile/online sports bets totaling “over $2,799.” For those scoring at home, that’s an average of $7.65 per wager.
NCAA guidelines prohibit athletes from wagering on their own games or other sports at their own schools, so Dekkers might face permanent loss of eligibility. Nearly 22 years ago in college basketball, Florida guard Teddy Dupay met a similar fate.
According to a statement released Tuesday night by Dekker’s lawyers, Dekkers will “focus on his studies and on the defense of this criminal charge.” He will not be with the football team this month in preseason practices.
A total of four Iowa St. athletes, three current and one former, were charged yesterday with “tampering with records in an attempt to disguise their identities while placing sports wagers.” Again, per Hines and Peterson of the Register, “all are accused of manipulating transactions to create the appearance that their bets were placed by other people.”
“Hunter Dekkers denies the criminal charge brought against him. He will plead not guilty to that charge because he is in fact not guilty of that charge,” Dekkers’ lawyer Mark Weinhardt said in a statement to the Register. “This charge attempts to criminalize a daily fact of American life. Millions of people share online accounts of all kinds every day.
“This prosecution interferes with and politicizes what is the business of Iowa State University and the NCAA. The investigation at the Iowa universities is the tip of an iceberg. Thousands and thousands of college athletes place bets — usually very small ones — with shared accounts. That is for the schools and the NCAA to police.”
Well, there’s no doubt about the fact that if these allegations are accurate, the wagers being placed by the account in question – “one controlled by Dekkers” – were extremely small ($7.65 on average).
Therefore, these criminal charges feel like a reach. However, that has nothing to do with NCAA rules, which clearly state that athletes can’t wager on Iowa St. games in any sport, and football players certainly can’t wager on Cyclone football games.
Iowa St. finished last season with a 4-8 straight-up record and a 5-7 against-the-spread mark. The Cyclones lost three games by seven combined points, and they lost outright in six out of seven one-possession games.
The losing campaign ended a streak of five consecutive winning seasons and bowl game appearances. Matt Campbell, who was hired before the 2016 season, is entering the eighth year of his tenure in Ames. His teams’ only other losing season was his first (3-9) in 2016.
The investigation into betting by Iowa St. athletes was launched several months ago.
“No matter what we’re doing, I’m not going to jeopardize the team,” Campbell said last month regarding players involved in the probe. “What we’ll do is what’s in the best interest of the team.”
Dekkers completed 302-of-457 passes (66.1%) for 3,044 yards with a 19/14 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year. He had 73 rushing yards and two TDs, but he had 282 yards of rushing gains before subtracting sack yardage.
Dekkers played in four games – not against Oklahoma St., though, as previously noted – while redshirting in 2021. The 6-foot-3 lefty connected on 20-of-36 throws (55.6%) for 193 yards and two TDs compared to one interception. Dekkers had 61 rushing yards and one TD on just four attempts.
In 2020, Dekkers played in three games and completed 5-of-7 passes (71.4%) for 118 yards and one TD without an interception. He also had 12 rushing yards on three carries.
Dekkers has completed 65.4 percent of his 500 career pass attempts for 3,355 yards with a 22/15 TD-INT ratio. He has 146 career rushing yards and four TDs.
With Dekkers’ playing days likely done at Iowa St., Campbell’s team is down to three scholarship QBs: redshirt freshman Rocco Becht, true freshman JJ Kohl and juco transfer Tanner Hughes.
Becht played in three games in 2022. He completed 7-of-15 passes (46.7%) for 65 yards with one interception.
Kohl was the prize of the Cyclones’ 2023 recruiting class. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Kohl was a four-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 4 overall player in the state of Iowa and the No. 19 QB in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite.
Kohl enrolled early in January and participated in spring practice. He chose Iowa St. over offers from other Power Five programs like Auburn, Wisconsin, Iowa, FSU, Michigan and Penn St.
Hughes was a late addition to the 2023 class when he signed in late May. He played at Butte College for two seasons in 2021 and 2022. Hughes played in 18 games for the Roadrunners, throwing 25 TD passes compared to merely five interceptions.
Dodge Sauser, a sophomore offensive lineman and Paniro Johnson, a sophomore on the wrestling team, have also been charged with tampering with records and have both been accused of betting on Cyclone sporting events.
The DraftKings account controlled by Sauser allegedly made 113 total wagers and 12 bets on Iowa St. football games, including four of last year’s contests vs. Ohio, vs. West Virginia, at Oklahoma St. and vs. Texas Tech. The Cyclones covered the spread in wins over the Bobcats and Mountaineers, but they failed to cover in outright losses to the Cowboys and Red Raiders.
The account wagered $3,075 in total, according to the complaint.
When the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission announced the investigation back in May, it said it did not believe that “betting markets had been compromised.”
According to the Register, “the tampering with records charge is an aggravated misdemeanor and could carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in county jail or up to two years in prison if convicted.”
Iowa St. opens the season at home on Sept. 2 against Northern Iowa. The Cyclones had a season win total of 5.5 (‘under’ -135, ‘over’ +115) before yesterday’s news broke. That wager has been temporarily taken off the board by most books.