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Iowa State QB charged with tampering amid gambling case

Iowa State starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers was charged with tampering with records involving the ongoing sports gambling investigation of athletes at Iowa State and Iowa, according to Iowa court records.

According to documents filed in Iowa District Court for Story County, Dekkers and his parents “engaged in a scheme” to allow the quarterback “to disguise his identity and manipulate online/mobile transactions in order to create the appearance that sports wager transactions” were conducted by his mother, Jami Dekkers, on a DraftKings sportsbook platform.

According to the complaint, Hunter Dekkers, 22, was 20 years old when he used DraftKings, which is illegal in Iowa. He is accused of placing 366 mobile or online bets from his personal phone totaling more than $2,799, including 297 bets when he was under the age of 21. According to the document, “26 wagers were placed on Iowa State University sporting events. One wager was placed on the 2021 Iowa State football game against Oklahoma State.”

The court filing was first reported by The Des Moines Register and WHO-TV. Dekkers faces up to two years in prison for tampering with records, which is an aggravated misdemeanor in Iowa.

Court documents list Dekkers’ offense date took place Nov. 7, 2021, the day after the Cyclones played Texas. Dekkers would have been 20 years old at that time. An initial appearance for Dekkers is set for Aug. 16 in Story County Court.

“We are in the process of gathering information and will have no further comment at this time,” Iowa State senior associate athletic director Nick Joos said.

According to the attorney representing Dekkers, the quarterback will not participate in fall camp.

“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,” Mark E. Weinhardt of The Weinhardt Law Firm said in a statement on behalf of Dekkers.

“This charge attempts to criminalize a daily fact of American life,” the statement continued. “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.”

Weinhardt stated that DCI agents executed a search warrant at Dekkers’ apartment in Ames in May and another at Dekkers’ family’s home in northwest Iowa.

Two other Iowa State athletes also are charged with tampering with evidence. They include Big 12 champion wrestler Paniro Johnson and redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Dodge Sauser. In addition, former Iowa State defensive lineman Eyi Uwazurike, a Denver Broncos draft pick in 2022 but suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games during the 2022 season, also was charged with the same offense stemming from his days in Ames.

According to NCAA rules, any athlete wagering on their own university could receive a lifetime ban.

In early May, officials at Iowa State and Iowa were notified that several athletes were under investigation for gambling on sports. Iowa has 26 athletes from five sports under investigation, while Iowa State has 15 athletes from three sports.

Dekkers was an honorable mention All-Big 12 quarterback last year and started all 12 games. He threw for 3,044 yards, the fourth most in a single season in school history and the third most in the Big 12 last season. He had a Big 12-best completion rate of 66.1 percent, which ranked fifth in single-season school history and was 23rd nationally.

If Dekkers can’t play this fall, that would mean two inexperienced quarterbacks would vie for the starting job. Redshirt freshman Rocco Becht — son of former NFL tight end Anthony Becht — saw limited action in three games last year. True freshman JJ Kohl, a four-star recruit from nearby Ankeny, enrolled in January and will compete for the job as well.

“Rocco Becht is a young man that we got to see flashes of, got to get in football games and play and command the offense last year,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said in May. “I really thought he had a great offseason. And then obviously getting JJ in at the January mark was really big for us because I think for him to get some of those competitive reps this spring was really good.”

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(Photo: Ron Jenkins / Getty Images)

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