Illinois students apologize for Iowa ticket prank ahead of Saturday’s game

It would have been a great college prank, but the Iowa athletic department squashed it.

The Illinois student spirit group “Orange Krush” had its order of 200 tickets to Saturday’s men’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena canceled Wednesday after Iowa discovered that the person who made the purchase falsely claiming that the tickets were for a Champagne Boys and Girls Club.

Iowa issued a $5,400 refund and donated all 200 tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids.

Iowa Athletics tweeted that when it contacted the Champaign Boys and Girls Club about the order, it was obvious the club did not purchase the tickets.

“When contacted by the person who originally ordered the tickets,” the statement said, “they admitted they falsely ordered tickets under the non-profit organization.”

That person was Kilton Rauman, a senior from Illinois and vice president of Illini Pride, the Orange Krush’s umbrella organization.

Rauman said Thursday that the group routinely uses an assumed identity to buy tickets for its annual road trip to an opposing camp. The reason, he said, is that he would expect an order from a group cheering for the away team and booing the home team to be rejected.

For last year’s trip to Purdue, he said, he successfully bought 50 tickets for a group of “Boy Scouts.” He said he has also bought tickets for a “family reunion”.

“We’ve been turned down for ordering Orange Krush in the past, which is completely understandable,” Rauman said. “I don’t think our athletic department would want to sell out to a bunch of 200 kids from Purdue’s Paint Crew.”

Rauman said he called Iowa in September to ask for discounted group tickets to “a boys and girls club.” The purchase was made in October and the tickets arrived at the mailing address of the Illinois Athletic Department, where the Illinois Pride is headquartered.

“I was surprised it worked,” he said.

Well, it worked until Wednesday. That’s when Iowa notified Rauman that the barcodes on the ticket didn’t scan and that a refund had been issued. Iowa declined to comment beyond its statement.

In retrospect, Rauman said, the Champaign mailing address attached to a large ticket order should have made Iowa suspicious earlier this week. Because of the late notice, he said, Orange Krush lost $6,000 by having to cancel charter buses.

“Obviously, it didn’t turn out the way we expected,” Rauman said. “There was no malice behind it.”

The Orange Krush posted a defiant statement on the group’s Twitter account Wednesday claiming the tickets were legally purchased and would have gone to students doing a charity fundraiser, accusing the Iowa athletic department of be afraid”. However, the Krush issued another statement on Friday admitting that the group misrepresented itself and apologized for the incident.

Illinois vs. Iowa tips off at 2:30 pm ET Saturday only on FOX and the FOX Sports app.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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