Iowa’s decision to cancel a group ticket sale to the Orange Krush, the University of Illinois student section, has started a war of words between the two sides ahead of Saturday’s Big Ten men’s basketball clash between the Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini.
The Orange Krush is accusing Iowa of being “fearful” of allowing its fans in Carver-Hawkeye Arena for Saturday afternoon’s game. In response, Iowa claims that the student section was granted a group rate under false pretenses, after stating that the tickets were for an Illinois chapter of the Boys & Girls Club, per ESPN.
“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 said 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 & Girls Club of Cedar Rapids. We look forward to welcoming these kids to a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena this Saturday.”
The Orange Krush said in a statement that the tickets were “legally purchased,” and that the late cancellation decision makes it impossible to get a full refund for the charter buses arranged for the trip, a financial hit that makes it impossible for the organization to schedule a different trip for this season.
The organization wasted no time in bashing Iowa athletics and athletic director Gary Barta over the decision, either.
“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 $5400 and ruin a sellout in order to turn us away,” the statement reads. “Gary Barta and staff, we issue great thanks to all of you for the adoration you have shown the Orange Krush through your cowardice.”
Saturday’s game is set to tip off at 2:30 p.m. ET in Iowa City.