The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Three current and former Iowa student-athletes among seven charged in state sports gambling probe

Current Iowa football player Aaron Blom, along with former Hawkeye basketball player Ahron Ulis and former baseball player Gehrig Christensen, were among seven Iowa and Iowa State student-athletes who were issued criminal charges Tuesday.
Iowa+kicker+Aaron+Blom+attempts+a+field+goal+during+a+football+game+between+Iowa+and+Iowa+State+at+Kinnick+Stadium+in+Iowa+City+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+10%2C+2022.+The+Cyclones+ended+a+six-game+Cy-Hawk+series+losing+streak+and+defeated+the+Hawkeyes%2C+10-7.+Blom+failed+field+goal+attempt+was+48+yards.
Grace Smith
Iowa kicker Aaron Blom attempts a field goal during a football game between Iowa and Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. The Cyclones ended a six-game Cy-Hawk series losing streak and defeated the Hawkeyes, 10-7. Blom failed field goal attempt was 48 yards.

Current Iowa football player Aaron Blom, along with former Hawkeye basketball player Ahron Ulis  and former baseball player Gehrig Christensen, were among seven Iowa and Iowa State student-athletes who were issued criminal charges in the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s (DCI) probe into sports gambling.   

They are each being charged with one count of tampering with records related to the investigation. The charge is labeled as an aggravated misdemeanor but could be punishable by a maximum sentence of two years in prison if convicted. 

The student-athletes convicted could also face a permanent loss of athletic eligibility, per NCAA regulations that prohibit athletes from betting on their own games or other sporting events at their schools. 

“The [three Hawkeye athletes] ‘routinely and consistently’ placed wagers from [their] personal iPhones, which were also traced back to [their] University of Iowa residences and in areas of the university ‘not routinely open to the public,’” wrote court documents.

It has been over two months since the DCI launched the ongoing investigation. The seven names were revealed in criminal complaints filed by the attorney’s offices of Johnson and Story County, respectively. 

According to the complaint, Blom, Iowa’s second-string kicker and punter last season, made over 100 underage bets, totaling approximately $4,400. Iowa’s legal betting age is 21. 

Eight of these wagers were on Hawkeye sporting events, including a lone football game in 2021 in which Blom was the backup kicker and did not appear in the contest. 

He allegedly bet the “under” in total points in the Hawkeyes’ 27-17 victory over the Cyclones. A bet on the under means the wagerer thinks there will be fewer points than the total listed. According to Caesars Sportsbook, the estimated total of the game was 45 points. 

Christensen, who retired from baseball in a June 8 Instagram post, has allegedly placed over 559 underage bets, 23 of which involved Iowa sports.

Both Christensen and Blom placed their wagers through online DraftKings accounts and used their mothers’ identities and consent. 

Christensen and Blom admitted to DCI agents that they placed bets under each of their mother’s names. Christensen said he wagered “mostly on NBA games.” 

Ulis instead registered his online FanDuel account under the name of his older brother, Anton Porter. Per the complaint, Ulis placed 1,850 wagers, 740 of which were underage. These wagers collectively totaled more than $34,800 with at least one wager on an Iowa sporting event. 

Ulis transferred to Nebraska this offseason.  In a Zoom meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Nebraska basketball head coach Fred Hoiberg said he was not aware of the issue when recruiting him this spring.  

Both Ulis and Blom remain on their official rosters.  

The other four athletes include one former and three current Iowa State Cyclones. Among them were junior starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers, sophomore wrestler Panrio Johnson, sophomore offensive lineman Dodge Sauser, and former defensive lineman Enyi Uwazurike

The football players each placed bets on their own team, ranging from games played last season and in 2021. 

Sauser redshirted his freshman year and did not see much action in 2022, while Uwazurike started all 13 games in 2021, achieving All-Big 12  first-team honors. Dekkers’ lone football bet was a 2021 game against Oklahoma State, in which he was the backup quarterback at the time. 

Dekkers, Johnson, and Sauser were specifically accused of underage gambling, as each relied on a “proxy account” to impersonate an individual at or above the legal age, per the complaint. Each allegedly wagered totals exceeding $1,000, the most being Johnson’s $45,640. 

The Athletic reported that Dekkers will not participate in fall camp. His attorney representing him, Mark E. Weinhardt of The Weinhardt Law Firm, said the quarterback will plead not guilty.

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About the Contributors
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
she/her/hers
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.