IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two-year starting defensive tackle Noah Shannon was hit with a season-long NCAA suspension for gambling activities, Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday morning. Shannon, with help from Iowa, will appeal the suspension.
Shannon, 23, is in his sixth season and has started 28 games at Iowa. He was slated to attend Big Ten media days in July but pulled out because of the ongoing NCAA investigation. Shannon is one of five current football players and 11 current Iowa athletes overall facing NCAA suspensions for violating NCAA rules.
“In Noah’s case, he has not committed a crime at all,” Ferentz said. “So nothing criminal. I just feel like it’s a little bit harsh to me personally, and just I’m hopeful that they’ll reconsider his case.
“I know he bet on one of our other sports teams here, and I understand that may be a bad thing. He bet for them, and I’m guessing he got caught up in the emotion.”
Iowa claims FERPA as a reason for not releasing the names of the players accused of NCAA violations without the athlete’s consent, which Shannon has given.
Two other players — receiver Jack Johnson and backup kicker Aaron Blom — were charged with aggravated misdemeanors by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Both were accused of betting on Iowa football games while on the team. Two other players face NCAA suspensions but their names were withheld by Iowa athletics. Iowa’s wrestling team is likely to face significant NCAA penalties as well, per a program source.
“There’s kind of three different levels, if you will,” Ferentz said. “You have a couple guys that are looking at serious consequences, potentially. You’ve got a couple guys that are looking at suspensions.
“One is longer than the other, and I’m sure that’s based on whatever criteria they based it on. And we’ll live with that.”
This is the latest news in a gambling investigation that has rocked Iowa since May. As part of a probe by the Iowa Gaming and Racing Commission and the Iowa DCI, 41 athletes — 26 at Iowa, 15 at Iowa State — were accused of gambling infractions and violating NCAA rules.
Among those arrested for aggravated misdemeanors at Iowa include Blom, Johnson, former receiver Arland Bruce IV, former safety Reggie Bracy, former baseball player Gehrig Christensen, former basketball player Ahron Ulis and former student manager Owen O’Brien.
At Iowa State, those charged involve several former and current football players. They include former running back Jirehl Brock, former defensive lineman Eyi Uwazurike, former offensive lineman Dodge Sauser, tight end DeShawn Hanika, offensive lineman Jake Remsburg and defensive lineman Isaiah Lee. Big 12 champion wrestler Paniro Johnson also was charged.
Athletes are banned from gambling on all NCAA-sponsored sports, including pro sports. This summer, the NCAA streamlined the penalties. For wagers totaling less than $200, there is no suspension. For those betting up to $500, it’s a loss of 10 percent of a season. For up to $800 wagered, it’s 20 percent of a season. For total bets greater than $800, it’s at least a 30 percent suspension. If athletes bet on any sport at their school, they face a potential lifetime ban from the NCAA.
“I guess it’s our bad luck, because as far as I understand, it’s a state thing,” Ferentz said. “Why those two universities only were targeted? There’s college students at all kinds of universities. Sounds like it’s only athletes; that’s just my impression.”
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