Head coach Kirk Ferentz plans to take a hard-line position on any players proven guilty of placing bets on Iowa games.
Ferentz said Friday that the ongoing investigation into illegal gambling activity by student-athletes at Iowa and Iowa State produced new revelations about players on his Hawkeyes' roster betting on Iowa games.
"I think the key point there is betting on our games," Ferentz said. "... It's a deal breaker if that is, in fact, proven to be true. So, we'll deal with that when we get there. But, I think as we move forward, I think, at least in my opinion, it's been a learning process."
Twenty-six athletes in five sports were part of an investigation into betting announced in May. Three more were added to the list by prosecutors this week.
Sports betting, gaining legal approval in more than 30 states, is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 in Iowa. NCAA rules prohibit athletes and most university-affiliated employees, including coaches, staff, trainers and support staff, from wagering on college sports and most professional sports, regardless of age.
Investigators revealed last month that electronic gambling accounts connected to players under names of parents or family members tipped off authorities of the widespread nature of the betting trend among state university athletes.
The NCAA revealed an organized but independent investigation into the matter, which includes Iowa defensive tackle Noah Shannon. Shannon said he's part of the NCAA investigation but unlike most of the other Iowa athletes named, Shannon hasn't been charged by Iowa authorities and is over the age of 21. Ferentz said on Friday that Shannon's issue is largely related to injury.
"It's really not that big of a deal right now, quite frankly. I'm not trying to be coy, but it just isn't," Ferentz said. "Noah is injured; he would be the most prominent player, to my knowledge, that's involved in this. Let's say he was 100 percent healthy, which he's not. If we got closer to games, that's something we'd have to weigh and measure."
Ferentz said he doesn't have a timeline for when any NCAA decision or legal ruling might take place. He asked the NCAA last month at Big Ten Media Days to take into account the climate around sports betting, which has become omnipresent in and around sports. Regardless, he said there is accountability for athletes, too.
"As I stand here right now, the one thing it doesn't — it can't be compromised, the integrity of the game, that's first and foremost. That's got to be protected, and that's where everything should start," Ferentz said. "We will continue to cooperate. I think everybody involved has done a good job of that. That will be ongoing, and as we move forward, just hope that whoever is making decisions, they're thoughtful. Hopefully they're making appropriate decisions, and then being timely would be appreciated, as well."
—Field Level Media