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Iowa betting investigation: “If they get suspended or a scholarship taken away, so be it”

| By Jill R. Dorson | Reading Time: 2 minutes
An Iowa criminal investigator appears to have lost his moral compass and is more concerned with garnering attention than following the rules, emails released to the Associated Press reveal this week.
iowa betting scandal

In the ongoing investigation around the suspension and arrests of multiple college athletes, the emails shine new light on what motivated at least one investigator.

An Iowa betting investigation “would bring attention to our unit, not only in the public’s eyes, but also as far as the commissioner and even possibly the legislatures,” Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Chris Adkins wrote in a 2023 email to colleagues, according to the AP.

The emails shine another light on an investigation that has begun to look a lot like an abuse of power. The end result was that dozens of athletes from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University either faced criminal charges in the state or NCAA suspensions.

In some cases, potentially including for then-Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers, the investigation may have cost players a shot at professional careers.

Investigators had an agenda

The NCAA banned Dekkers for making approximately 366 wagers, among them 26 on Iowa State teams, including the football team. Some 297 of those wagers were placed before Dekkers turned 21. Sports betting is legal in Iowa for those over the age of 21. It is also an NCAA violation for student-athletes to wager. And in every sport, it is considered the biggest of violations to bet on your own team.

The AP obtained the latest information about the Iowa betting investigation through an open-records request. The emails reveal investigators had an agenda.

“If they get suspended or get a scholarship taken away, so be it,” Adkins wrote in one email.

In another, he wrote that “on a case like this, where it will be higher profile, we can show our worth to the powers that be along with sending out a warning that we will be overseeing things and hopefully work on slowing down these sorts of things in the future.

“And if we pursue this and it hits the media, which it would, and people start asking why nothing criminal was done – we can use that as a platform to hopefully push legislators for code changes moving forward.”

Data tool misused in Iowa betting investigation

The Iowa betting investigation started ahead of the 2023 football season. Department of Criminal Investigations employees reportedly misused data and tools from geolocation company GeoComply. Without obtaining warrants, investigators tracked betting activity within dorms and athletic facilities first at Iowa and then at Iowa State.

GeoComply, a widely used Vancouver-based geolocation service, has tools to track bet locations available. It shared a tool that allowed Iowa criminal investigators to track clusters of betting activity, according to the Washington Post. There were no policies in place for how the investigators could use the tool. It’s possible that investigators broke state law in how they were used.

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