Northern Illinois crashed the BCS party by playing their way into the Discover Orange Bowl on Jan. 1. The Huskies knocked off Kent State in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game to earn their rightful spot -- becoming the first team in history from the MAC to play in a BCS game.However, the school managed to sell just 3,266 of its 17,500 ticket allotment, thus forcing the NIU athletic office to give away 12,284 for free. Yes, you read that correct, for free!In the past, schools who have played in a BCS game that didn't sell their full allotment were obligated to pick up the tab for unsold tickets. According to the USA TODAY, Connecticut lost $1.7 million for their trip to the Fiesta Bowl in 2011. Fortunately for Northern Illinois, that apparently won't be the case because the Mid-American Conference reportedly covered the school's unsold ticket costs.Of course, the school and conference probably should have seen this coming. The Huskies only averaged 15,700 fans at home games during the 2012 season. So, even if they had convinced their entire average home crowd to make the journey to Miami, they still would have came up short.Here's a quick breakdown on the distribution:Tickets sold (includes only tickets sold through NIU ticket office): 3,266Free tickets for NIU Students: 2,876NIU Team (players, coaches, staff) and NIU Band: 1,308Donated Tickets: 8,100 Total Tickets Distributed: 15,550Via Huskie Wire.