Q&A: Everything Matt Campbell had to say about the gambling investigation

Jul 13, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell is interviewed during the Big 12 football media day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The following is a transcript of a conversation about the ongoing investigation into gambling activity in the Iowa State football program between Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell and local reporters on the side at Big 12 Football Media Days in Dallas.

Q: Have anything to report?

Campbell: No, and obviously, I’m sure you’re implying the gambling situation, but, obviously, it continues to be an ongoing investigation and nothing that we can really comment about. Something we’ll deal with as we kind of continue to learn about it and people continue to give us the information.

Q: How do you prepare for a season with that hanging over the program’s head?

Campbell: Well, it’s so minimalistic in terms of numbers. We’re all being educated on it. You take it as a learning opportunity with the young men on your team and you grow forward, so, to me, it really hasn’t hindered us or really hasn’t paused us in any way, shape, or form as we continue to build this team.

Q: When you start practicing a couple of weeks, all the guys that you do know are caught up in it, do they get reps like they normally would? Do you have to adjust there? How do you approach that?

Campbell: Well, hopefully, you get a little bit more clarity as we get a little bit closer, but I think you take the information that you have by the time you get to that point of the season and and then you continue to put the team in the best situation to move itself forward.

Q: What does clarity look like?

Campbell: Well, I think understanding number one who exactly is involved, to what extent is their involvement and then what are the repercussions of that involvement? I think those are all things that we don’t really know, the whole picture of that, and as we continue to get the clarity of that, you appreciate the thorough due diligence of everybody that’s on this right now. You want to go by facts, not fiction.

Q: Is everybody practicing?

Campbell: Yeah, absolutely, even though we don’t have practice yet. Everybody’s training.

Q: The DCI kind of has its own timeline, but have you gotten an idea of once you guys get the information or they wrap up, what time it’ll take for you to get your ducks in a row to get the NCAA information?

Campbell: Yeah, that’s kind of tough to know. Again, those are all things that probably are better questions administratively and university-wise, but, man, their communication with me has been excellent. I think they understand the urgency of the season getting here. I don’t look at this as anything that’s so monumental that we can’t handle it. We’ve been able to handle it every step of the way so far, so it’s been positive.

Q: Not to belabor the point but is there a chance there might be guys you don’t know about?

Campbell: Yeah, I don’t think so. But, again, I think, you continue down this road of it’s just such a unique situation and obviously we’re learning by the day but no, I feel like, at least from that aspect of it, we have probably the best clarity at this point that we’ve had.

Q: Are you prepared to start players that are under investigation?

Campbell: Team, I think no matter what we’re doing, we’re not going to jeopardize our team, and the most important thing that we can have, what we’ve always supported is team. What we’ll do is what’s in the best interest of the team. That’s really how we’ve handled it. Part of our responsibility as educators is to use this as a learning opportunity and a growth opportunity. Obviously, when it’s time to have repercussions, team repercussions, we have to do what’s best for the football team.

Q: You talk about team, does that mean, possibly… If you do play them, there could be forfeitures…

Campbell: Well, that wouldn’t be what’s best for the team.

Q: So you wouldn’t play those guys?

Campbell: Team.

Q: With the guys that you kind of do know about, do you have talks with guys behind them and say, like, ‘Hey, you know, pushing them like, this is a big opportunity for you?’ How does that work within the program?

Campbell: It’s no different than an injury. That’s where we’re probably as healthy today as we’ve ever been in our program. Last year, we probably dealt with more injuries and more guys having to play than we ever have, in, at least, my tenure. I would say the painful part of that was we looked like a young football team and acted like it. The positive is the experience in the depth that we were able to build from those experiences, and taking that into the offseason, I think has really helped us greatly. I would say from top to bottom, we’re deeper today than we’ve ever been. Whether it’s competition going into fall camp, spring practice, summer, fall camp, or if it’s, man, there are opportunities that are available. I think it’s the most competitive offseason we’ve had since I’ve been here. I think every kid understands, man, right now, in our program, probably from top to bottom, is there such a great opportunity going into fall camp to earn playing time. I don’t think any of this is any different than how you would deal with an injury or how you would deal with anything that kind of gets thrown at you in the college football season. I think we’re probably as equipped to handle whatever situations come our way as we’ve ever been just because of the so many guys that had to play a year ago.

Q: The announcement a couple of weeks ago about lessening gambling penalties, was that welcome news for you guys, in terms of understanding where your guys might end up?

Campbell: I think there’s still so much lack of clarity because you just don’t know. I think that college football and college athletics, we’re living in a different world, right? I think that the positive is, is that the NCAA is continuing to evolve in their understanding of the world that we’re living in. I think that there was recognition that this is a different time, this is a different world, these kids are experiencing different lifestyles than maybe what it was five-10 years ago. I think that’s at least a positive for our young men, and anybody going through this experience. I just think it’s a unique time. It’s a great learning experience for all of us. When I say minimalistic, I think the positive thing I take is there are so few that are involved in this situation across the board at Iowa State and really across the board in our football program that the young men that are going through this, I think it’s a great learning opportunity for all of us, myself included. It’s a great educational opportunity to make sure we continue to, you know, have that positive result of so few involved.

Q: Do you have a number that you can give us?

Campbell: I don’t, and, again, I think once we have absolute clarity, I’ll be able to give you that number. I think the biggest thing I can say is it’s such a very minimal amount of our football program.

Q: They made a mistake and knew they were not supposed to do it, but that doesn’t mean they’re horrible humans either. Headlines can kind of misconstrue that. How have you talked with the guys who did get into trouble about that?

Campbell: That’s what I love about college athletics is you’re dealing with 18 to 22-year-old kids, right? You’re dealing with what, at least right now, looks like not a, maybe, great legal ramification when they made a minor mistake. Again, it’s a choice and we all are defined by choices that we make. My only ask of our young men is let’s be completely transparent about what happened. Whatever choice or decision you made, we’ll learn from it and grow from it together. That’s part of college, it’s part of the 18 to 22-year-old growth process. To me, it’s what I absolutely love about my job and responsibility is to be a great educator and a great teacher and help young guys grow forward. I would say that at least the response that I’ve seen from all the young men that at least, you know, so far have been in a situation where maybe they’ve been involved with this somehow, some way, how they’ve handled it, the character and the honesty that they’ve gone about this process, I couldn’t be any prouder. It’s part of the journey. So but for me, it’s teaching and it’s part of growing young men into men, and then that stretches part of the journey.

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.