Former Iowa State football players accuse investigators of “voluntary search” in sports betting investigation

So he just went ahead and did it?

The attorney for former Iowa State University defensive player Isaiah Lee has accused an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) agent of targeting college athletes without good reason in a sports betting operation.

Van Plumb, who also represents former Cyclone Eyioma Uwazurike in the US state of Iowa, calls the start of the gambling investigation last year a “legitimate search” and says DCI agent Brian Sanger never had any idea that any kind of illegal activity was taking place Gambling is going on. There was never an anonymous tip that athletes were placing bets on sports, there was never a complaint of any kind and there was no evidence that anything was going on.

In fact, the court filing quotes Sanger as saying that he “couldn't remember why he decided to conduct the warrantless searches,” but that he himself was “concerned about people, for example, infiltrating Iowa sports teams for inside information.” or games to receive fortifications.”

If you don't succeed at first…

The filing details Sanger's trial and says it began at the University of Iowa, using a tool called Kibana Set up a GeoFence around the freshman and sophomore dorms. He could see that there was traffic to DraftKings and FanDuel, but he couldn't determine if there was betting, let alone who was doing it.

He shared what little to no information he had found with his superiors at the DCI, but was denied this when he asked to continue the investigation. Sanger then set about geographically fencing an athletic facility at the University of Iowa, where only athletes, coaches and other athletic personnel were allowed entry. His superiors let him continue after he presented his further results.

Because there was no reason to suspect illegal gambling, Plumb believes the warrantless search was a violation of the student-athletes' privacy. He has requested documents from the DCI regarding the department's policies regarding GeoComply software, as well as any communications from the investigation.

Many athletes in their sights

Dozens of University of Iowa and Iowa State University athletes were caught up in the investigation. Some placed hundreds or even thousands of bets, but for very small amounts per bet. Isaiah Lee, for example, placed 115 bets totaling just $885. However, a dozen were on Iowa State football games, and one of the bets even assumed his own team would lose.

Lee left the Iowa State program and did not play college football in 2023 after starting all of the Cyclones' games in 2022.

Even in cases where an athlete bet on his team's games, there was no evidence that the competitions were affected by gambling, according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

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