Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz told reporters Friday he is still gathering information and learning about the involvement of his players in the gambling investigations currently ongoing by the NCAA and the state of Iowa.
Part of the new information was that some of his players are being accused of betting on Iowa games during the season, which was a significant detail in the investigations for Ferentz and something he is not taking lightly.
“I think the key point there is betting on our games, and that is, to me, it’s a deal breaker if that is, in fact, proven to be true,” Ferentz said. “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.”
Ferentz said the integrity of the game can’t be compromised through gambling, and they will continue to cooperate with the investigations.
In May, Iowa announced that 26 athletes in five different sports were being investigated for wagering on sports, which violates NCAA rules. It was revealed this week that three more members of the Iowa football program have been charged in the state’s investigation into sports wagering — receiver Jack Johnson as well as former players Arland Bruce IV and Reggie Bracy, who have since transferred to Oklahoma State and Troy, respectively.
The players face charges of tampering with records, which is an aggravated misdemeanor, for allegedly concealing their identity in electronic wagering activities.
Not all involved are being charged by the state, however, as defensive lineman Noah Shannon announced in July he was part of the NCAA’s investigation into gambling. Ferentz said Shannon is the most prominent player involved in the NCAA investigation and that the players involved won’t likely impact the team’s preparation for the season.
“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.
“Because if you don’t know if a player is going to be there, you have to get other players ready to go. Because we’re going to play regardless, we’re going to play. So right now, we’ll wait and see, that’s just the way it is. So, it hasn’t really been a big deal that way.”
Ferentz said the players involved are in a holding pattern with the NCAA, but outside of one player, they are practicing with the team. According to the NCAA’s updated guidelines on gambling, athletes who wager on their own sports or others at their school can face permanent loss of eligibility. Athletes who bet on their sport but not on their school could lose up to 50% of one season, while other violations could be penalties based on cumulative dollar value of the wagers.
While Iowa and Ferentz are fully cooperating, Ferentz acknowledged that sports gambling has become a more widespread issue across the country and even in different leagues. The investigation in Iowa also includes Iowa State, which has seen starting running back Jirehl Brock and quarterback Hunter Dekkers charged in the probe.
Because of the ease of gambling through phones and the internet, Ferentz believes the NCAA needs to adapt and come up with new policies to help safeguard the sport.
“I think they came out with something early May, late April, but I’m not sure that’s aggressive enough based on the world we’re living in,” Ferentz said. “But, everything’s got to start there; it’s not a compromise, it’s not a negotiation. I would also suggest, based on the number I’m aware of, it’s probably a pretty small number in terms of the big scheme of things, but it doesn’t make it right and there’s no way you can condone that.”