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The Iowa-Illinois basketball beef over student-section tickets, explained

Why are the Orange Krush and Iowa basketball fighting?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

We have some Big Ten Basketball beef that you should be aware of.

In one corner you have the University of Illinois, or more specifically, the Orange Krush. The Orange Krush describe themselves as the “nation’s premier student section,” and every college basketball season, they attend one road game as a group.

This year they selected the upcoming game against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

As you might imagine from the framing of this story, Iowa basketball is in the other corner.

The one and only game regular season game between these two schools this season is set for this Saturday, February 4, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the University of Iowa’s campus. Illinois enters the weekend with a 16-6 record, winners of three-straight games. Iowa, on the other hand, is 14-8 on the season, having won two-straight games.

Now let’s get to the issue at hand. Wednesday evening, the Orange Krush issued a statement on social media indicating that they would not be attending this weekend’s game at Iowa after all. In the statement, the Orange Krush stated that Iowa’s Athletic Department “invalidated all 200 tickets that the Orange Krush had legally purchased.”

The statement further outlined how members of the Orange Krush had participated in fundraisers to secure a spot on the trip, and pointed the finger squarely at the Iowa Athletic Department:

It is highly unfortunate for the 150 students that collectively fundraised a total of $2649.41 for local charitable organizations in order to be invited on this trip. Most of all, it is highly unfortunate that the University of Iowa and their athletic department refused to face the consequences of the mistake THEY MADE in selling tickets to a billing address in Champaign, Illinois. It is against the spirit of competition and rivalry, two outstanding attributes of the Big Ten Conference, to make this decision.

The statement concluded with some chest-thumping from the Orange Krush:

It is disappointing, without a doubt, that we will not get to be there in person to see the game this Saturday. However, 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 to turn us away. Gary Barta and staff, we issue great thanks to all of you for the adoration you have shown the Orange Krush through your cowardice.

Here is the statement in full:

Is this true?

Is Iowa basketball scared to compete?

As you might expect, there was another side to the story.

On Wednesday night, the Iowa Athletic Department issued their own version of events:

As indicated, the story was a little different in their eyes:

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. 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.

According to the Iowa Athletic Department, the ticket order was refunded. In addition, the school is donating the tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids.

So now we have a war of words between a school and a rival student section — although it would seem the facts are on the side of the Iowa Athletic Department in this instance — and a group of kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids getting tickets to Saturday’s game.

At least something positive might result from this beef.