BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU became the first school in the Southeastern Conference to mandate that all fans 12 and older who want to come to a home game must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of gates opening.
“While we are aware of the diverse perspectives across the nation regarding masks and vaccinations, we must take all reasonable measures to protect our campus and community, not only on gamedays, but long after guests have left Tiger Stadium,” said LSU President William Tate IV. “The current threat to our lives, our health, and to our medical systems due to COVID-19 is overburdening our hospitals, and we must do our part to stop the spread.”
According to the school, the decision to mandate vaccines or negative tests came after the school consulted with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, LSU President Tate, LSU’s Board of Supervisors, Tiger Athletic Foundation, and Director of Athletics Scott Woodward. The policy will be effective starting September 11 for LSU’s home opener against McNeese State.
The Tigers have home games this year against McNeese State, Central Michigan, Auburn, Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana Monroe, and Texas A&M. LSU’s rule means all fans of those schools who might travel to Baton Rouge will have to follow the same guidelines.
As LSU mandates vaccines or negative tests, the question becomes will the rest of the SEC follow suit. Many of the states in the SEC’s footprint: Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Florida have some of the lowest vaccination rates and highest case rates in the country. Limiting attendance to SEC football games could be the biggest and best incentive to getting more people vaccinated across the deep South.