CHAMPAIGN – There has always been a little bit of heat between the Big Ten rivals when they meet in men’s basketball, and now there are some more this weekend thanks to a controversy surrounding tickets.
On Wednesday evening at 7:24 p.m., the Illinois basketball student section “Orange Krush” tweeted that they had 200 tickets they “legally purchased” for the Illini’s game against Iowa in Iowa City canceled by the Hawkeyes athletic department.
They were notified of the decision on Wednesday.
This was to be their 20th road trip and they’d already received the tickets in October, with 150 students raising $2,649.41 total in order to secure their place on the trip. Per their news release, the notification from Iowa came too late to get a full refund for charter buses purchased for the event, costing the group $6,000.
“It is disappointing, without a doubt, that we will not get to be there in person to see the game this Saturday. 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,” said the Orange Krush in their statement.
An hour and a half later, at 8:55 p.m., Iowa basketball tweeted its own statement on the ticket issue, saying that they voided the tickets when they discovered that the organization had ordered the discounted group tickets under a different name – the Illinois Chapter of the Boys and Girls Club.
“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,” said Iowa basketball in their statement. “Iowa Athletics has refunded the original ticket order and donated the tickets to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cedar Rapids. We look forward to welcoming these kids to a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena.”
Illinois and Iowa will meet in Iowa City at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday as both teams are locked in a battle for second in the Big Ten behind Purdue, who is 11-1 in the conference. A three-game winning streak has the Illini locked in a tie for second place with Rutgers while the Hawkeyes are a game behind at 6-5.