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Monday, May 20, 2024
Law

Iowa Athletes Sue State, Citing ‘Unconstitutional’ Tracking of Gambling

  • Attorneys filed a federal lawsuit Friday on behalf of athletes alleging wrongdoing by state employees and agencies.
  • The attorneys contend that the state misused tracking software and didn’t tell students they were being investigated during conversations.
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More than two dozen college athletes are suing the state of Iowa, multiple of its agencies, and several state workers following a sports betting scandal that ended many of their careers.

Last spring, state investigators announced investigations into wagering by 26 athletes at Iowa and 15 at Iowa State. Most of the athletes pleaded guilty to underage gambling and paid a fine to dismiss counts of identity theft. But a few who didn’t accept a plea deal had all charges against them dropped in March due to misuse of tracking software by investigators.

The lawsuit, filed Friday by attorneys Van Plumb and Matthew Boles, comes 10 days after the publication of a Washington Post investigation that detailed how investigators uncovered the gambling activity, using tracking software to put a “digital fence” around athletic facilities without obtaining a warrant and interviewing athletes without telling them they were under investigation.

The attorneys, representing athletes from Iowa, Iowa State, and Ellsworth Community College, argue that using the software without a warrant was unconstitutional, and that the athletes were misled by investigators to believe they were not under investigation, meaning they were never read their Miranda rights. The attorneys also said that last month, the Department of Criminal Investigation lost access to the tracking software after its provider found it had violated the user agreement.

The civil lawsuit, filed in federal court in Des Moines, asks for a jury trial, punitive damages, compensatory damages, and attorney fees.

“Many of them have had their athletic careers ended, due to the State of Iowa’s unconstitutional use of GeoComply’s Kibana software,” the attorneys said in a statement. “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.”

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