Iowa says Illini fan group ‘falsely’ bought tickets

Days before they fight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City this weekend, the Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini are up against each other.

The Orange Krush, a longtime group of Illinois supporters and fans, said the purchase of 200 tickets for Saturday’s Iowa-Illinois matchup was canceled Wednesday by the Iowa athletic department. This decision will cost the group more than $6,000, which they cannot recover because it is too late to cancel their charter buses and other travel arrangements. The group accused Iowa’s Messing of being “scared” of her presence on Saturday.

But Iowa officials have denied that claim, accusing the Orange Krush of fraud. According to a school statement sent to ESPN, the Orange Krush bought its tickets at a discounted price after claiming the tickets were for a chapter of the Boys & Girls Club in Illinois.

The school said it will subsequently donate tickets for Saturday’s game to a local chapter of the Boys & Girls Club in Iowa.

“The Iowa Athletics Department has become 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. “Following this organization, it became clear that this was not factual. When she contacted the person who placed the original ticket order, she admitted to mistakenly ordering tickets from the nonprofit. Iowa Athletics refunded the original ticket order and donated tickets to the Cedar Rapids Boys & Girls Club. We look forward to welcoming these kids to a sold out Carver-Hawkeye Arena this Saturday.”

The Orange Krush, a non-profit organization, too released a statement on Wednesday which stated that his tickets were “legally purchased”.

“It is very unfortunate for our group that this trip has been canceled as we have been looking forward to it since we received the tickets in the mail in October,” the statement said. “It is very unfortunate for the 150 students who raised a total of $2,649.41 for local charities to be invited to this trip. Above all, it is very unfortunate that the University of Iowa and its athletic department have refused to face the consequences of the mistake they made in selling tickets to a billing address in Champaign, Illinois.”

Illinois has an 89-76 advantage over Iowa in a series that began in 1908. Illinois and Iowa tied the last 10 matchups (5-5).

Iowa star Kris Murray (20.6 points per game) has helped the Hawkeyes finish 6-2 in their last eight games. And, led by Texas Tech transfer Terrence Shannon Jr. (17.2 points), Illinois is 7-1 in their last eight games.

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