Sports Betting

Iowa student-athletes involved in sports betting probe have filed a federal lawsuit

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Iowa student-athelete pic

In Iowa, 26 former and current athletes were involved in illegal sports gambling activity. It goes directly against the NCAA’s policy that prohibits student-athletes from betting on sports the NCAA sponsors at any level. Last Friday, the student-athletes involved in the sports-betting probe filed a federal lawsuit. 

The lawsuit alleges that state criminal investigators violated their constitutional rights. They illegally used geo-tracking software to monitor activity on the student athletes’ cell phones. As a result, some of these student-athletes received criminal charges and several lost NCAA eligibility. A 47-page lawsuit was filed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. 

It states that criminal investigators used a third-party company called GeoComply to find these athletes. They failed to have a legal search warrant and that’s why they are proceeding with a civil lawsuit.

Who are the student-athletes who had their rights violated by Iowa criminal investigators?

In the initial illegal search and seizure, ex-Iowa State football players Eyioma Uwazurike and Isaiah Lee were targeted with GeoComply. That led to a “warrantless” search that should have never happened. In March, these cases were dismissed because criminal investigators failed to have a legal search warrant.  

Additionally, ex-Iowa State football player Jiherl Brock and Iowa State wrestler Paniro Johnson were involved in the illegal search. All four of those student-athletes had their cases dismissed. Other plaintiffs in the case included ex-Iowa State QB Hunter Dekkers and University of Iowa football player Noah Shannon. According to reports from ESPN, 16 of them were charged and 12 pleaded guilty to underage gambling.

Attorneys claim that these student-athletes lives were altered and disrupted

Plaintiffs, in this case, are reportedly seeking, Actual, compensatory, consequential, and all other allowable damages against defendants in an amount yet to be determined. Additionally, they want compensation for their constitutional rights being broken. They’re claiming pain, suffering, mental anguish, and humiliation. Attorneys in this case had this comment to ESPN reporters.

The lives of these young men have been disrupted and altered in way[s] still yet to be fully seen,” said Matt Boles, Adam Witosky, and Van Plumb, “It is our hope that through the civil action we can help these young men put their lives back on track and gain a measure of justice for the violation of their rights.”

The other 10 plaintiffs in this case were not charged criminally. However, the investigation resulted in a loss of playing time. Additionally, there was the threat of the NCAA or NFL sanctioning or damaging their careers. Athletes lost some or all of their NCAA eligibility after the case was dismissed.