Nebraska Football: Iowa State continues role as cautionary tale

Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Ter Ran Benton (22) tackles Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Roy Helu (10) at Jack Trice Stadium. (Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports)
Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Ter Ran Benton (22) tackles Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Roy Helu (10) at Jack Trice Stadium. (Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Iowa State Cyclones continue to show the dangers of the new college world that Nebraska football needs to avoid at all costs.

Three more ISU players had criminal charges brought against them this week and it certainly looks like the season is already over for Matt Campbell and company before its even begun.

With at least three more players potentially out for the season, Iowa State can indeed be looked at by a neighboring program like Nebraska football as a big time cautionary tale. And while the situations are vastly different, there is certainly a world where one could see the Cornhuskers getting caught up in something like this.

While the state of Iowa’s gambling scandal hasn’t touched the Nebraska football team yet, the same can’t be said for the basketball team. It certainly seems as though Fred Hoiberg is going to be out one point guard transfer he was hoping could spark some big wins this winter.

Jirehl Brock, Iowa State’s leading rusher in 2022, is accused of making 1,327 bets, totaling $12,050. Those bets are alleged to include 13 ISU basketball games and four ISU football contests, including two games he played in 2022, ISU vs Iowa and K-State at ISU.

DeShawn Hanika led his team’s tight ends with 17 catches a year ago. He’s accused of placing 288 bets, including over $1,000 worth on his school’s basketball team. Defensive lineman Isaiah Lee was the least impactful of the trio at Iowa State last year, but he still had 22 tackles. He’s alleged to have made over 100 bets, including on at least one Cyclone football game.

All three of those players’ college careers are likely over. Same with last year’s starting signal caller
Hunter Dekkers.

Nebraska football must stay above board

Imagine if the Huskers lost Jeff Sims, Gabe Ervin, and Thomas Fidone in one fell swoop. It’s not like it’s that far-fetched.

While internet gambling isn’t legal in Nebraska, gambling at casinos is. The ISU players weren’t gambling under their own names. It doesn’t seem far-fetched to think that a Nebraska football player might get the bright idea of having someone place bets for him. What if that “someone” turned around and sold them out?

There is also a safety net in place that doesn’t allow any betting on the Nebraska football team, or any other local program, inside the state. But that’s hardly an ironclad solution, considering the Iowa border is just an hour away from Lincoln.

Nebraska football players wouldn’t have to drive long at all in order to place wagers both online and on their own team, if they thought they could get away with it. Because of that, one hopes that Huskers’ head coach Matt Rhule and company are pointing to what’s going on in Ames and in Iowa City every single day. Warnings about what could happen should be front and center.

In a world where sports betting is getting more popular, it might not seem all that fair that college athletes can’t partake. But for the moment, it’s the way it is. And Nebraska football needs to stay far, far away from that world.