A Big Ten matchup between Iowa and visiting Illinois on Saturday has started generating buzz for more than what’s at stake in the conference standings.
Iowa reportedly invalidated 200 tickets that Orange Krush, Illinois’ student section, had purchased for the game serving as its annual road trip. But the Hawkeyes’ athletic department pushed back against the allegations with a statement Wednesday night — stating that the individual who purchased the tickets “admitted to falsely ordering tickets under the [Illinois chapter of the Boys & Girls Club] non-profit organization,” according to a report from NBC Chicago.”
The Orange Krush has not publicly responded following Iowa’s statement.
“The Iowa Athletics Department became aware of a discounted group ticket order for the Iowa-Illinois men’s basketball game on behalf of an Illinois chapter of the Boys & Girls Club,” Iowa’s statement read. “In following up with that organization, it became clear this was not factual … Iowa Athletics has refunded the original ticket order and donated tickets to the Boys & Girls Club of Cedar Rapids.”
In its original statement, posted to the student section’s Twitter page Wednesday night, the Orange Krush said that it originally received the tickets via mail in October and cited the billing address of Champaign, Illinois as a reason for Iowa’s last-second pivot. The group also stated that the students attending needed to fundraise in order to be included, leading to a total of $2,649.41 compiled.
The student section couldn’t receive a refund for its buses because the game is just three days away. That meant Orange Krush will lose $6,000 of its $30,0000 annual budget, according to its statement.
“We take it as a great compliment that the Orange Krush is a strong enough section to be so feared that an opposing athletic department is willing to sacrifice $5,400 and ruin a sellout in order to turn us away,” the student section’s lengthy statement read.
“(Iowa Athletic director) Gary Barta and staff, we issue great thanks to all of you for the adoration you have shown the Orange Krush through your cowardice.”
Illinois (16-6, 7-4 Big Ten) holds a slim advantage over Iowa (14-8, 6-5) in the conference standings as the calendar flips to February, though only Illinois received votes in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. It’s the lone meeting of the season between the two teams, unless they meet again in the Big Ten tournament next month.