Illinois student section apologizes for posing as charity to buy Iowa tickets
The Orange Krush, the organization affiliated with the Illinois men's basketball student section, apologized Friday after an attempt to shame Iowa for canceling their members' road tickets backfired massively when the Hawkeyes revealed the tactics the students used.
The organizations' apology concedes the students misrepresented themselves as a different charity, an Illinois Boys & Girls Club, so they could buy tickets in bulk for Saturday's game at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Calling the ploy "poor judgement," the students also said they should not have publicly aired their grievances with Iowa.
— The Orange Krush (@TheOrangeKrush) February 3, 2023
The full statement:
The students of the Orange Krush are among the most passionate fans in the country. But in planning the Orange Krush road trip, we misrepresented ourselves as another active charitable organization, which exercised poor judgement. This was our mistake and for that we are truly sorry. We also should have never placed blame on the lowa ticket office and Director of Athletics Gary Bart or called them out for cancelling the tickets. Protection of their home court is, and should be, their priority.
As a non-profit organization ourselves trying to better the Champaign-Urbana community, we have the greatest respect for organizations who are doing this life-changing work every day. It was never our intention to disparage or lessen their importance. This event has been a valuable learning experience that will help form best practices for Orange Krush classes for years to come. The Orange Krush road trip prank has become a tradition that students and Illini fans look forward to every year. It is our goal to continue the annual road trip in a manner that stays true to the spirit of fun competition Illinois fans expect.
This story began Wednesday when the Orange Krush released a lengthy statement complaining that Iowa had ruined its tradition of banding together to attend one road game per year.
This year, the Orange Krush said Iowa had told them it was invalidating their 200 tickets to the game Saturday and the late notice would mean the organization would have to eat $6,000 of its $30,000 annual budget due to nonrefundable charter buses.
It was a very dramatic statement, at points claiming Iowa "refused to face the consequences of the mistake THEY MADE in selling tickets to a billing address in Champaign, Illinois" and claiming Iowa athletic director Gary Barta and his staff displayed "cowardice" and "feared" the Illini fanbase.
For a while, the statement had its intended effect, with angry fans questioning Iowa on social media. However, Iowa did not take those accusations and criticism lying down.
Within two hours of the Orange Krush's statement, the Hawkeyes had released their own statement claiming the Orange Krush had omitted a very important part of its story, specifically that the students had purchased their discounted tickets by posing as the Boys & Girls Club. Iowa said it had refunded the tickets and instead donated them to the Boys & Girls Club of Cedar Rapids.
The Orange Krush's apology will hopefully be the end of this very ill-advised sage, though they have certainly signed themselves up for some jibes from Iowa come Saturday.