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Iowa athletics “Krushes” plan of 200 Illinois students to attend Illini-Hawkeyes game at Carver
Illinois’ Orange Krush organization got a hold of 200 tickets for Saturday’s men’s basketball clash in Iowa City, but then the tickets were invalidated
The Illinois-Iowa men’s basketball rivalry had an orange twist Wednesday that left sour tastes in the mouths of both sides, other than a few dozen area kids and their family members.
The University of Illinois’ Orange Krush student organization was notified by the University of Iowa that its 200 tickets for Saturday afternoon’s Illini-Hawkeyes game in Iowa City had been invalidated.
The Orange Krush is well-known as Illinois basketball’s student fan section. It is part of Illini Pride, the official student-run fan organization supporting Illini athletics.
The Orange Krush Foundation is a charitable organization. To join, its members must raise money to support local and national charities. According to the Orange Krush website, the organization has donated more than $2 million to charity over its 25-year history.
Each year, the Krush designates an Illini road game to attend. It was Iowa in 2010 and 2015. Several other Big Ten sites have been destinations. This year was to be the 20th in which the Krush attended a road game. They purchased their tickets from Iowa in October.
However, other Big Ten schools haven’t always been welcoming to the Krush, not caring for the optics of having a large group of vocal visiting students making their presence felt. The Krush has used disguises on many occasions including at Iowa, and has often used cover stories to buy blocks of tickets. And it was the Krush’s cover story that led to Iowa’s decision.
“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 and Girls Club,” The Iowa athletics department said Wednesday night in a statement.
“In following up with that organization, it became clear this was not factual. When contacting the individual who made the original ticket order, they admitted to falsely ordering tickets under the non-profit organization.
“Iowa athletics has refunded the original ticket order and donated tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids. We look forward to welcoming these kids to a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena this Saturday.”
The short-notice combined with the logistics, however, meant the Boys & Girls Club of the Corridor took just 50 of the tickets and may not use all of those.
“They made the offer and we’re very thankful,” said John Tursi, the executive director of Boys & Girls Club of the Corridor, GCC, which covers units in Cedar Rapids, Marion and Iowa City.
“We’ll probably use 30 to 50. We couldn’t get 200 kids there, not in this tight turnaround. Transportation and everything else would be a nightmare for us to even begin to do it. Even if we could set up the transportation it would be hard for us to get 200 kids.
“They have been great to us in the past. They call us all the time and ask if we want some tickets. It’s usually 10 to 20, and that’s so manageable.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Krush got a voicemail from Iowa informing that its tickets had been invalidated.
In a statement the Krush issued Wednesday, “Because the University of Iowa waited to make this decision until today, February 1st, it is now too close to the scheduled date of the trip to cancel the charter buses that had been arranged and receive a full refund. This leads to our 501(c) 3 organization losing nearly $6,000 from our $30,000 budget. Any organization cannot realistically withstand losing one-fifth of its yearly budget, and we are no different.
“This means that, financially, we cannot afford to pivot to another destination, even if there were sufficiently available tickets. So, the 20th Orange Krush road trip will have to be delayed until the 2023-24 season, assuming the chosen destination is on a campus with a less fearful athletic department than the one representing the University of Iowa.”