Attendance at LSU football games is entirely up to the tiger.

While fans love to see Mike VI on the field as part of LSU’s pre-game festivities, going to the games is a matter of choice for LSU’s live tiger mascot, according to a news release by the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. The mascot is not sedated or forced to attend.

“His veterinary student caretakers have been loading Mike VI into his trailer this summer to get him ready for the LSU home games; however, he doesn’t always cooperate,” said Dr. David Baker, LSU’s attending veterinarian. “We know how important it is to the fans that he be in the stadium, but we can’t force him to do so, and we absolutely would never do that even if we could. Mike’s safety and well-being are most important to us, and we know that these are important to the fans as well.”

In 2007 (Mike VI’s first season), he attended all but the first home football game because Baker, felt it was too hot. In 2008, Mike VI attended the first two home games but no others. In 2009, he attended all but the first home game because the field was too wet. In 2010, Mike VI attended all but two home games, and in 2011, he attended every home game.

“If Mike VI does not attend the pre-game festivities, it is important for fans to know that this does not mean that something is wrong,” said Baker. “Mike VI is a healthy, normal tiger.”

Mike VI arrived at LSU in August of 2007 as a two-year-old, but has since matured, becoming more cautious and less inquisitive. Baker said that this is a sign of normal tiger development.

Information from a news release from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine.