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Iowa Football: Another Bad Beat

The other shoe drops in the Iowa gambling saga, and it’s a big one.

Syndication: The Des Moines Register Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Well Iowa fans, the news we’ve been awaiting for what feels like months has finally dropped, and it’s not what we’ve been hoping for. Kirk Ferentz announced this morning that 2 year starter (and returning 6th year senior) Noah Shannon has been suspended for the entire 2023 season as a consequence for his part in the betting scandal that has plagued Iowa and Iowa State for most of the summer.

For those of you that haven’t been following this story since May, Shannon (along with 10 other current/former members of the Iowa Football, Men’s Basketball, Hellerball, and Wrestling teams) were identified by the Iowa DCI (the state’s version of the FBI) as having, potentially (people are innocent until proven guilty) as having potentially committed violations of state gambling laws, and as targets for potential NCAA punishment as a result of their gambling activities.

Many of the players were accused of underage gambling and have been charged with crimes related to their attempts to hide their age in order to be able to place bets through services like FanDuel and DraftKings. Shannon was not underage and has not been charged with any crimes, however, this morning’s announcement seemingly confirms that he placed bets on Iowa athletics (though not on games in his own sport), and that his wagers totaled more than $800 in total.

Ferentz also indicated that Shannon, with the University’s assistance, will appeal the NCAA’s decision and seek a reduction or a reversal of his suspension. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the NCAA isn’t going to be particularly receptive to that appeal, given that they’re already seen as having been weakened significantly by conference realignment and their complete belly-flop in managing the rollout of the NIL regime (or complete lack thereof) over the last two years.

How does this impact the team?

The importance of Shannon, Joe Evans, Nico Ragaini, and Tory Taylor returning for another season cannot really be understated. Bringing ther presence and veteran leadership back for another year was probably the single biggest success of the offseason for this Iowa team (and that’s saying a lot). Shannon was an anchor on the left side of the DL and his immense talent for backfield disruption could be credited for an awful lot of Jack Campbell’s team leading 118 tackles in 2022. Yahya Black (who has been reported to be having a great camp, with the word “unblockable” being thrown around) is Shannon’s likely replacement at that position, but Shannon’s leadership and experience (26 starts over the last two years) will be sorely missed.

The good news (yeah, looking for silver linings in this particular sable cloud) is that the defensive line is Iowa’s deepest position group at the moment, with an expected 8-9 man rotation even with Shannon slotted in as the starting LDT. If ever there was a position group on this team that could withstand a hit, the Dline is it. It is also highly unlikely that Phil Parker wasn’t planning for this possibility, meaning that his potential replacements have been getting a lot of 1st team reps in camp to minimize it’s impact.

There will, assuredly, be more news on this front as Shannon’s appeal works its way through the NCAA system, but for now, and I for one hope that cooler heads will prevail, but I’m guessing we’ve seen the last of Noah Shannon in the black and gold, and that is a very sad way for such a great player, and by all accounts a great kid, to end his college career.