Iowa voids Illini students’ tickets when it discovers prank

FILE – The Illinois Orange Krush student section uses large heads to heckle Chicago State’s Clarke Rosenberg (35) as he tries for a foul shot during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Nov. 22, 2013, in Champaign, Ill. The Illinois student spirit group “Orange Krush” had its order for 200 tickets to the men’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, canceled, after Iowa discovered the person who made the purchase falsely claimed the tickets were for a Boys and Girls Club. (AP Photo/Darrell Hoemann, File)

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

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

Iowa issued a refund for $5,400 and donated the 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 buy the tickets.

“When contacting the individual who made the original ticket order,” the statement said, “they admitted to falsely ordering tickets under the non-profit organization.”

That person was Kilton Rauman, an Illinois senior and vice president of Illini Pride, the umbrella organization for Orange Krush.

Rauman said Thursday the group routinely uses an assumed identity to buy tickets for its annual road trip to an opponent arena. The reason, he said, is that he would expect an order from a group that cheers for the visitor and heckles the home team would 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 also has bought tickets for a “family reunion.”

“In the past we’ve been turned away for ordering under Orange Krush, which is completely understandable,” Rauman said. “I don’t think our athletic department would want to sell to a group of 200 kids from the Paint Crew at Purdue.”

Rauman said he called Iowa in September to order discounted group tickets for “a Boys and Girls Club.” The purchase went through in October and the tickets arrived at the mailing address for the Illinois athletic department, where Illinois Pride has its headquarters.

“I was shocked that it worked,” he said.

Well, it worked until Wednesday. That’s when Iowa notified Rauman the ticket barcodes would not 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 before this week. Because of the late notice, he said, Orange Krush lost $6,000 having to cancel charter busses.

“Obviously, it did not pan out how we were hoping,” Rauman said. “There was no malice behind it.”

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