by Jackson Pence and Brandon Harold
Photo via Yahoo Sports
The Iowa State Football team will be in search of a new starting quarterback for the 2023 season after Travis Hines of the Des Moines Register reported that Hunter Dekkers (QB), Dodge Sauser (OL), and Paniro Jonhson (Iowa State Wrestler) are among Iowa State athletes that have been alleged of betting on Iowa State Athletic events. In addition, former Cyclone football star Eyioma Uwazurike was suspended indefinitely from the NFL last week for reports of him placing over 30 bets on his NFL team, the Denver Broncos. Jake Brend also reported that he bet on multiple Cyclone games in 2021.
Rumors still circulate that this is not the end of gambling punishments for other ISU football players and athletes.
Dekkers is suspected of betting on 26 Iowa State Athletic events and one Iowa State football game (2021 Oklahoma State). He has tallied a total of 366 (297 underage) sports wagers amounting to $2,799. In addition, Dekkers has been charged with tampering with records related to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s probe into sports gambling due to Dekker's parents enabling him to disguise his identity and manipulate online/mobile transactions in order to create the appearance that his bets made by his mother Jami.
Sauser is suspected of placing 12 sports wagers on Iowa State football games including last year's games against Ohio, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. It amounts to $3,075.
Johnson is also suspected of placing 1,283 (25 on ISU Athletic events) sports wagers amounting to $45,640! Court records show there has been a case filed against Johnson. However, according to Mat Scouts on Twitter, "The program says the allegations are 100% false and Johnson will have absolutely ZERO penalties". The former Big 12 champion at 149 pounds will look to defend his title this winter if the allegations are false. Here is the tweet:
The Response from Dekker's Team:
Later Tuesday evening, The Weinhardt Law Firm in Des Moines released this statement regarding Hunter Dekkers:
"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. "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. "From boyhood, Hunter Dekkers has been the model student-athlete, with the first emphasis on student. He grew up in a close-knit farm family in tiny Hawarden, Iowa, on the state’s northwest border. Playing football at Iowa State has been a dream come true. "This investigation has gone on since May when DCI agents executed a search warrant at Hunter’s apartment in Ames and another at his family’s home in northwest Iowa. The investigation has been an immense distraction from Hunter’s ability to be a good student and a great teammate. Hunter greatly appreciates the cooperation and support of Iowa State University and Coach Campbell and his staff during these events. "So he can focus on his studies and on the defense of this criminal charge, Hunter has informed the University and the coaching staff that he cannot participate in fall football camp."
While there is likely more news regarding Iowa State athletes and gambling coming, there is still some positive news to share. Hunter Dekkers may have taken his last snap in a collegiate football game but the future is still bright in the quarterback room. Anyone close to the program will tell you that Rocco Becht and JJ Kohl had phenomenal spring practices and summer workouts. People within the program feel confident in Becht or Kohl to lead the offense in 2023. I expect an open competition for starting QB when fall camp starts with the nod towards Becht. Keep an eye on JUCO transfer QB Tanner Hughes from Butte College. In 2022, Hughes threw for 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound junior would be a great short-yardage ball carrier like former All-American linebacker Joel Lanning.
There is still much more to unfold about all this gambling information, but there is still a lot of excitement about Iowa State football this fall.