April 29, 2024 3 min read


Iowa State Athletes Seek Reputational Damages Following Gambling Sting

A number of Iowa and Iowa State college athletes have launched a civil lawsuit against the state and a number of agencies over reputational damage

A lawsuit involving Iowa and Iowa State college athletes is now seeking reputational damages of unspecified financial nature from the state and its enforcement agencies, with the plaintiffs filing on Friday, and naming Iowa’s public safety and criminal investigation agencies as the defendants.

Fighting an Injustice with a Civil Lawsuit

According to the filing, the athletes had their rights violated, and their reputations tarnished by the blanket approach used to lambast athletes who potentially breached gambling rules and which were allegedly tied to the use of unauthorized accounts to place bets. The student-athletes faced a probe that threatened suspension from NCAA competitions as well as hefty financial penalties.

In their defense, the athletes denied wrongdoing and fought throughout the investigation to prove their innocence. They also didn’t miss the opportunity to pounce back at Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation which stands accused of having obtained its evidence illegally.

The new lawsuit filed with a federal court in Des Moines comes after in March, a judge dismissed the charges against the athletes, and names 17 athletes from Iowa and 8 from Iowa State specifically. The plaintiffs want a jury trial to address the injustice that they felt had been done to them. The new lawsuit was filed by local attorneys Van Plumb and Matthew Boles who represent the plaintiffs.

In the meantime, the case is not as open-shut as it may seem, as, despite the dismissal in March, most of the athletes that faced accusations admitted guilt in the matter and agreed to a fine and the charges of underage gambling to have another charge, identity theft, dismissed. The athletes had used the personal information of other people to register accounts and gamble.

Yet, some held their ground and denied wrongdoing as was the case with Isaiah Lee, Jirehl Brock Enyi Uwazurike, all college footballers from Iowa State, and wrestler Paniro Johnson. The aforementioned athletes had the charges against them dropped, as they proved that the DCI had obtained the evidence in a manner that made it inadmissible in court, and which is the basis of the new lawsuit.

The civil lawsuit argues that the athletes had their lives violated and disrupted because of the unconstitutional use of a piece of software, GeoComply, that was able to track specific offenses related to mobile betting. Specifically, the athletes, regardless of their guilt in the matter, must be free of warrantless searches, as is the state’s constitution.

The use of GeoComply software did bring to light prohibited practices under NCAA statutes, but it also violated constitutional rights. This defense has already been held once in March, and it will be used again in the new suit filed against the state.


Stoyan holds over 8 years of esports and gambling writing experience under his belt and is specifically knowledgeable about developments within the online scene. He is a great asset to the GamblingNews.com team with his niche expertise and continual focus on providing our readers with articles that have a unique spin which differentiates us from the rest.

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