Iowa Athlete Gambling Sting Was Way to Impress Higher Ups?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

An investigator at the center of a gambling probe involving Iowa student athletes thought it would impress the public and "the powers that be" to bust these individuals for online gambling activities.


“If they get suspended or get a scholarship taken away, so be it,” Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Christopher Adkins wrote in his February 2023 email.

The actual investigation would go on to backfire in a disastrous fashion.

Attorneys for more than two dozen Iowa and Iowa State athletes caught in a 2023 gambling sting obtained Adkins' email and 32 others from the Department of Public Safety through an open records request and released them to The Associated Press on Thursday.

These were the same attorneys who filed a civil suit against the state and investigators last week.

The civil suit, filed by Des Moines attorneys Van Plumb and Matthew Boles, alleges improper conduct by investigators violated the athletes’ fourth and 14th amendment rights and caused them pain, suffering, mental anguish, humiliation and damage to their personal reputations.

Attorneys contend tracking software data was illegally obtained because there was no search warrant issued.

“The lives of these young men have been disrupted and altered in way still yet to be fully seen,” the athletes’ attorneys said in a statement. “Many of them have had their athletic careers ended, due to the State of Iowa’s unconstitutional use of GeoComply’s Kibana software. It is our hope that through the civil action we can help these young men put their lives back on track and gain a measure of justice for the violation of their rights.”

The emails illustrate authorities' motivation for pursuing the cases and using geolocating software that led to the identification of athletes using mobile wagering apps with accounts registered under different names, usually those of relatives.

Five starters on the Iowa State football team and a number of Iowa football and basketball players were among athletes criminally charged or suspended by the NCAA.


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