FOUL PLAY: Orange you sad we aren't a charity?
College basketball student groups can be the most entertaining part of the sport. And the Illinois Orange Krush are no exception, painted from head to toe in orange. It’s less like watching a crowd of students and more like a giant mass of writhing carrots. They cheer, they scream, they make themselves heard.
And they made themselves very well heard this week, when they were notified that the University of Iowa had canceled their tickets to the Illinois-Iowa game. This was a huge financial hit to the organization, with massive cancellation fees for the buses. It was crippling to the Orange Krush’s yearly budget, and represented nearly 20 percent of their overall budget. It was a nightmare scenario for the Illinois superfans, and they made their displeasure heard. Sure, the Krush were fanatics, but that was the nature of the sport. If you can’t paint yourself bright orange and scream yourself hoarse watching people play basketball, what’s the point in living anymore? What Iowa had done was kneecap one of their rival’s traveling fanbases, out of what most people assumed was fear. They seemed afraid of the fandoms they played, and were willing to lose money to keep them away. And the Orange Krush wasn’t okay with that.
So they took to Twitter, putting Iowa athletics on blast, trying to get some attention and maybe get that decision reversed. The Orange Krush wanted justice, and they wanted to get the mob riled up.
If this was any other column, you’d hear about how the Orange Krush got justice. They got their money back, or they got to watch the game. They brought their energy to the game and screamed Illinois to a victory. But this is Foul Play, and this story had a little something kept out of view.
See, when the Krush published that statement, they got a crowd riled up. And for almost thirty minutes, people were on the Orange Krush’s side.
All that attention meant Iowa had to respond, and they knew something the Krush hadn’t published in their statement. The orange menace attempted to purchase those 200 tickets for their members under the name of the Boys and Girls Club of Illinois. Now, to be fair, while the Krush is a club that arguably does have both boys and girls, it’s not really a charity aimed at giving underprivileged kids opportunities. So Iowa did some investigating, and they discovered that it wasn’t actually a charity ordering those tickets so those tickets were promptly canceled.
Of course, the Krush could have just let this go, and they wouldn’t have dealt with the fallout of this new situation. But in that statement they’d been ferocious, calling the athletic director cowardly, and the school as a whole afraid. Iowa didn’t take this well, and that cowardly athletic department released a statement pointing out that pretending to be a charity is incredibly stupid. A few hours later, Iowa announced that they’d donate the tickets to a real Boys and Girls club, one that specialized less in body paint and more in real public service. The Krush tried to break the system, and they got hit with the bill. Topping it all off, Illinois lost to Iowa in that game, watched by a bunch of Iowa kids who were excited to be there.