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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.
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.
In 2006, the Orange Krush was named by Sports Illustrated as the second best student section in the country, behind only Duke.1
In years past, the Orange Krush posed as a youth group from Chicago for an away Michigan game and as a group of alumni from Penn State for a game at Penn State. Signing up for campus tours and taking pictures with the coaches, the Orange Krush members didn't reveal their identity until seconds before tip-off.2 They invaded Iowa in 2010, Minnesota in 2011, Nebraska in 2012, and Northwestern in 2013, with about 150 members participating every year. Opposing Universities have imposed restricted ticket sales for games against Illinois because of this.3
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-serve 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 State Farm Center 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.
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.
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 Foundation's eight-year existence.