|Area served||Champaign–Urbana Metropolitan Area
|Affiliations||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|Website||Orange Krush Foundation|
|Formerly called||Orange Crunch|
Orange Krush is a branch of the registered student organization (RSO), Illini Pride, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In its current form, the Organization has two faces. First, the Orange Krush is the student cheering section for the University of Illinois men's basketball team. Second, the Orange Krush exists as a charitable organization known as the Orange Krush Foundation.
The Orange Krush Foundation
Established in 1998, the Foundation is the charitable side of the Orange Krush organization. One half of all money raised from the pledge program, minus the cost of tickets for each member and any costs incurred in a roadtrip to another Big Ten school, is then donated to various charities in the Champaign-Urbana area. The other half goes to the DIA (Division of Intercollegiate Athletics) to fund various athletic scholarships, including the Matt Heldman and Rod Cardinal Scholarship.
Since 2002, the foundation has donated over $75,000 to the Cunningham Children's Home which has served at-risk youth from the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area for almost 120 years. Cunningham assists youth with foster care and transitional living, provides residential care treatment, and supports special needs education. With these funds, Cunningham has been able to build a new playground, an educational and recreation center, and purchase an industrial kitchen range.
In 2005, the Orange Krush Foundation presented the Jimmy V Foundation with a check for $50,000. The money represented the one-millionth dollar donated in the Orange Krush Foundation's eight-year existence.
As of the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season, the Orange Krush Foundation has donated more than a total of 2.5 million dollars to various local, state, and national organisations such as the Cunningham Children's Home in Urbana, Illinois, Orpheum Children's Science Museum, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, and Coaches vs. Cancer.
Membership in the Orange Krush is open to any student who is a member of Illini Pride, the school-wide student athletic boosters. Prospective members collect donations in the form of flat pledges, and also in the form of a 3-point shot system. For example, if a donor donates $.10 per 3-pointer, the donor agrees to pay a dime for every 3-point shot made by the Illini throughout the season, from the first exhibition game, through the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
Different levels of Orange Krush membership exist based on the amount of pledge money raised. A member must raise a minimum of $1.50 per 3-point shot to qualify for membership. These members are known as varsity members. Orange Krush members having raised more than $3.00 per shot become All-American members, the top-tier members. A third level exists for first-year students, known as the Scout level, in which a member must only raise $1.00 per 3-pointer.
Game Day procedures
Seating for Orange Krush members includes approximately 650 floor seats, and approximately 600 Upper Deck seats. All seats are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with All-American members being admitted first, then followed by Varsity and Scout members. To gain entry to a game, a member must wait in line outside the State Farm Center prior to doors opening. Because of the desire to gain front row seats, the first All-American members often arrive several hours early. The first All-American members arrived in line outside the Assembly Hall 40 hours prior to tip-off for the Fighting Illini's meeting with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on December 5, 2004 as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. After everyone is seated, then the theme song of Orange Krush, which changes year to year, is played. However, Kernkraft 400 has become a tradition with the Orange Krush and is played before every home game.
|Year||Song Artist||Song Title|
|2004–2005||Zombie Nation||Kernkraft 400|
|2005–2006||Nelly||Heart of a Champion|
|2006–2007||Young Joc||It's Goin' Down|
|2007–2008||DJ Khaled feat. Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman & Lil Wayne||We Takin' Over|
|2008–2009||Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne/Zombie Nation||Let It Rock/Kernkraft 400 (custom mix)|
|2009–2010||Fabolous feat. Jeremih/Zombie Nation||My Time (Fabolous song)/Kernkraft 400 (custom mix)|
|2010–2011||DJ Khaled feat. Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, & T-Pain/Zombie Nation||All I Do is Win/Kernkraft 400 (custom mix)|
To ensure that members are staying in line during these long waits, a series of "line-checks" are performed randomly by the Orange Krush administration. Each member, upon entering the line, is issued a numbered card indicating their place in line, and if they are absent for a line check, that member is considered out of line, and must go to the end of the line.
For the 2005-06 season, with Orange Krush membership swelling to more than 1,200 students (more than double the membership from the 2003-04 season), the Orange Krush Board instituted a new line, known as the VIP line. Each member of the Orange Krush is assigned one game a season in which they are a "VIP." This system was adopted to ensure that every member be given an opportunity to have floor seats for at least one home game. The VIP line enters after a certain number of All-Americans have entered, so the VIPs fill the last remaining floor seats. That is, if there are 100 people in the VIP line, the first 550 All-Americans will be admitted first, followed by the VIP line to fill the 650 total floor seats.
Historically, the Orange Krush has used elaborate disguises to gain access to away games. In the spring of 2005, 100 members posed as "Youth Action", a fictitious Chicago-area youth-group, to get tickets to a game at Michigan. The Krush was offered a tour of the Crisler Arena, but declined. Instead, they were also offered a photo opportunity with then coach Tommy Amaker, which the Krush took advantage of before the game. The Krush did not reveal themselves as Orange-clad crazies until just before tip-off.
In 2006, the Krush traveled to Minnesota and purchased student-section t-shirts to disguise themselves. After repeated successful trips, many Big 10 ticket offices imposed restrictions on tickets for Illinois games in an attempt to quell the invasions. In the spring of 2007, the Orange Krush posed as a Chicago-area Penn State Alumni organization and were able to get prime tickets right behind the basket, directly adjacent to the Penn State student section. They invaded Michigan in 2008, Purdue in 2009, Iowa in 2010, Minnesota in 2011, Nebraska in 2012, Northwestern in 2013, and Penn State in 2014 with about 150 members participating every year. Opposing Universities have imposed restricted ticket sales for games against Illinois because of this.
"The Orange Krush are super, scintillating and sensational! They are a fantastic sixth man for the Fighting Illini. However, what makes them so unique is their willingness to help people in need and helping out with various charities, such as the V Foundation. Yes, they are special. To put it in ‘Vitalese’ they are awesome, baby, with a capital A!"
- Theodore, Mike (November 23, 2013). "BTN LiveBIG: Orange Krush impacting local organizations". Big Ten Network. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Orange Krush Donates $50,000 to Jimmy V Foundation". University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. December 6, 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Orange Krush having fun doing good". News-Gazette. November 18, 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game". ESPN. 2009. p. 211. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Honors and Traditions". University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 2013. p. 2. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Linehan, Courtney (March 3, 2006). "Student Sections". Sports Illustrated. p. 2. Retrieved 5 January 2014.