Iowa and Iowa State Caught in NCAA’s Web (Editorial)

Iowa- The Hawkeyes and Cyclones will have national eyes on them for some time, but not for the reason the University or the student-athletes would like. 26 athletes for the University of Iowa spanning across five sports and one-full time employee for the athletic department are suspects in a violation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules on sports betting. Iowa State stated that around 15 athletes across three sports are also suspected of engaging in sports betting.

The Department of Criminal Investigation’s (DCI) released this statement,

“The DCI is involved in an ongoing investigation concerning sports wagering involving individuals at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. At this time, no criminal charges have been filed and no further information will be released. The DCI will work cooperatively with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission concerning any potential regulatory violations.”

The NCAA is no stranger to controversy when it comes to its rules of its enforcement of the rules. One of the biggest criticisms leveled against the NCAA was written nearly a century ago, but the points still apply. The 1929 Carnegie Report was a scathing report about the professionalism of college athletics and how the move towards commercialism and abandonment of education were causing the derailment of collegiate athletics. Now, it’s important to note that the “evils” plaguing the NCAA had been plaguing collegiate athletics since its inception as sport clubs when rowing teams would go compete for a prize then go and drink.

However, compliance offices have only grown since then to ensure that rules are followed due to the complexity of the NCAA rulebook; yet nothing seems to have changed. The stats from the 2021-22 school year, there were 2,682 level III violation enforcement cases resolved. A compliance office would not be doing its job well if it did not turn in a litany of violations for the year.

The issue that lies with this case is that the NCAA rules prohibit athletes, coaches, and staff from betting on amateur, collegiate, and professional sports in which the NCAA conducts a championship. Even if the state allows sports gambling, these individuals may not participate. The inclusion of professional sports seems confusing in this matter because now the NCAA states that any of these individuals cannot gamble on an NBA game, even if the state allows. Yet, their fellow students can indulge.

This argument circles back to the same testimonies being made when student-athletes were not allowed to be paid. Now, with the name, image, likeness (NIL) deal in effect compliance offices are floundering. So, the issue remains does the fault lie on the student-athletes violating the rules or is the violation on the NCAA for making convoluted rules that leave players and staff vulnerable to be left in this cycle of violating their tortuous code.