At first, it appeared that the University of Iowa pulled tickets from an opposing school’s student fan group unprompted.
The story, however, got much stranger Wednesday night.
Illinois’ “Orange Krush” fan group called out the Iowa athletic department on Wednesday via Twitter after its tickets were canceled ahead of Saturday’s game between the Illini and Hawkeyes in Iowa City. Hours later, though, Iowa said the group had lied in order to purchase 200 tickets.
The “Orange Krush,” Iowa said, had posed as an Illinois chapter of the Boys and Girls Club.
“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,” 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.”
So, Iowa refunded the order and canceled those tickets. Instead, the Hawkeyes donated the tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids.
The situation started after the fan group posted an open letter claiming that Iowa invalidated the group’s tickets Wednesday, a move it said would end up costing them nearly $6,000 in lost travel arrangements. The letter made it seem like Iowa pulled the tickets only after realizing that a large group of Illinois fans were going to show up at Carver-Hawkeye arena for the game.
The Hawkeyes, however, apparently didn’t have to work very hard to prove this wrong. And if the ticket holder admitted to it, the original letter seems like a bold move to release.
Either way, the tickets will end up benefitting a group of kids Saturday.
Iowa enters the contest having won six of its last eight games. Illinois has won seven of its past eight.