Pollard in wait and see mode regarding impact of legal sports betting

Jamie Pollard speaks to the media at Iowa State’s first stop on the Cyclone Tailgate Tour. Pollard talked gambling in collegiate sports. Photo by Connor Ferguson.

AUDUBON, Iowa – Only time will tell in regards to the impact legalized sports gambling will have on college athletics in the state of Iowa.

That was the message shared by Iowa State Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard during the first stop of the annual Tailgate Tour in Aubudon on Monday. Pollard’s comments came as the bill which made Iowa the 11th state in the country with legal sports betting beginning this summer was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds.

“We’re all going to have to adjust to what does it mean,” Pollard said. “Ten years from now, who knows, maybe there will be kiosks and you can do it inside a facility. Right now, that’s not the case and I think that was good to slow play it. Some of the restrictions that will prevent anybody from betting on a prop bet which essentially means don’t bet on a student-athlete I think is the right thing to do. In the end, what ends up happening is you follow the money. Somebody will get corrupted along the way and when somebody gets corrupted everybody will start pointing fingers of how did that happen. When that happens, dominos will start to fall and schools will get penalized. I just don’t want to see that happen at Iowa State.”

The bill, which was passed along to the Governor by the Iowa House and Senate earlier this month, came into play following a Supreme Court decision last year that struck down the federal ban on sports betting. In the time since, major steps have been taken to regulate what could become a multi-billion dollar industry nationally.

Pollard said how the University would work to regulate things on its own campus could continue to evolve over time.

“Education will be a big part of it but monitoring is a huge part of it. That’s probably not our area of expertise,” Pollard said. “When you talk to the folks in Las Vegas, they’ll tell you the Nevada Gaming Commission does a lot of that so I wonder who in the state of Iowa is going to do that? My guess is it’s not on their radar screen, which means that the accountability will fall back to the individual schools. That’s pretty daunting because that’s not our area of expertise nor are we ever going to be able to ramp up to do that well.”

The bill signed by the Governor comes devoid of any sort of clauses that will allow schools or leagues to receive any of the revenue generated by legal sports betting in the state of Iowa.

Regardless, Pollard and his staff will be in wait and see mode now that Governor Reynolds has signed the bill into law.

“I don’t think any of us really know. It’s uncharted territory,” Pollard said. “Again, I like to approach things not doom and gloom just matter of fact. It’s a change. We’ll have to watch it and try to figure out how to deal with it, but also the world’s not going to end because they’re doing it.”

Publisher’s note: This story was updated after Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law several hours later.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.