CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A tradition for Illinois’ basketball student section the Orange Krush was canceled on short notice after Krush leaders said an opposing university invalidated their tickets for an upcoming game.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Krush said it has arranged for students to attend one road game per year since 2002. This year’s trip, the section’s 20th, was arranged for the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City on Saturday. But they said that on Wednesday, the Iowa Athletic Department had called them to say all 200 of the tickets Krush purchased in October had been invalidated and could not be scanned at the entrances of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“It is highly unfortunate for the 150 students who collectively fundraised $2,649.41 for local charitable donations in order to be invited on this trip,” Krush said. “Most of all, it is highly unfortunate that the University of Iowa and its athletic department refused to face the consequences of the mistake they made in selling tickets to a billing address in Champaign, Ill. It is against the spirit of competition and rivalry, two outstanding attributes of the Big Ten Conference, to make this decision.”
Because they were notified about the tickets so late in relation to the trip, Krush leaders said they are unable to cancel the charter buses that had been arranged to transport the 200 students to Iowa City. This would cost Krush $6,000 of its yearly $30,000 budget. This in turn means Krush cannot afford to pivot to another road game this season.
“It is disappointing, without a doubt, that we will not get to be there in person to see the game this Saturday,” Krush said. “However, we will 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 to turn us away.”
Iowa’s men’s basketball released a statement of its own in response, saying Krush falsely placed a discounted group ticket order on behalf of a Boys and Girls Club chapter in Illinois.
“In following up with that organization, it became clear that this was not factual,” Iowa officials said. “When contacting the individual who made the original ticket order, they admitted to falsely ordering tickets under the non-profit organization.”
Iowa officials added they refunded the original ticket order and instead donated the tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Krush finished its statement by thanking the people who donated money to its foundation in order to receive a spot on the road trip.
“Your hard work will do wonders in this community for those in need of support,” Krush said. “We are working hard to find a way to make this right to you as you are valued, appreciated members of our section and of our Champaign-Urbana community.”