Ex-Iowa State QB Dekkers enrolls at Iowa Western CC

Former Iowa State starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers, who had his remaining NCAA eligibility revoked after being charged in the state's investigation into sports wagering among college athletes, has enrolled at Iowa Western Community College.

Dekkers, who started for ISU during the 2022 season, was among a group of athletes from ISU and Iowa who pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of underage gambling in September. As part of their plea deal, they received a fine and no other penalties. The group initially faced an aggravated misdemeanor charge of tampering with records that carried a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Dekkers left Iowa State after being charged in August, while continuing to take online classes from home. He told ESPN that the NCAA denied his final years of eligibility because of a single $15 bet placed on Iowa State football in 2021 -- a game in which he played as the backup quarterback -- that was linked to his account. Dekkers appealed the NCAA's initial decision and received the final ruling in late February. He is on track to graduate from Iowa State in May.

Iowa Western is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association and won its third national title in 2023. An Iowa Western spokesman confirmed that Dekkers is enrolled and eligible.

"I decided that going to JUCO was the best route in order to continue to play football and try to get to the next level," Dekkers told ESPN. "I've dedicated and worked my whole life for this sport and my dream. I can't let one mistake define my whole entire career. That's not who I am. I can't quit because something gets hard."

Dekkers had 3,044 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for Iowa State in 2022. The Hawarden, Iowa, native trained in nearby Sioux Falls during the fall before heading to Iowa Western in March.

"To know that I'm able to be around a group of guys again, work together with a group of guys again and play football again, it's honestly been a breath of fresh air," Dekkers said. "In this situation, it would have been really easy to just quit and never play again, and just walk away. But for myself, I just couldn't do it. I've worked too hard for everything and I will continue to work every single day for my dreams."