Tiger Stadium: lsu football stock

Advocate file image of Death Valley.

LSU will set up a dozen sites outside Tiger Stadium on Saturday to check its football fans' vaccination status in an effort to speed entry into the arena for its game against McNeese State.

Last month, the university announced it would require that fans attending games this season either be vaccinated or be able to show proof of a recent infection or a recent negative PCR test.

On Saturday, fans can show their vaccine cards or test status between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at any of 12 locations around campus and receive a wristband that will indicate to ticket-takers at marked gates that one is safe to enter the 102,000-seat stadium. The move is expected to reduce the size of lines at the gates.

The school will also have mobile teams available across campus to verify proof of vaccination or a negative test dated within 72 hours of kickoff.

At any site, guests can show an original COVID-19 vaccination card; a photo or photocopy of a COVID-19 vaccination card; or a digital proof of vaccination, including LA Wallet or another government-sanctioned mobile app. Unvaccinated guests can provide digital or hard copy proof of a timely negative test.

While school officials say COVID-19 safety remains a priority on campus, some fans have expressed mixed feelings about the added game-day precautions.

“I hope (the new guidelines) don’t deter people from coming,” said Otey White, a longtime LSU fan and owner of PR firm Otey White and Associates. “Obviously we need fans there and we need Tiger Stadium to be like Tiger Stadium of 2019, and I’m not sure if that can happen with the current restrictions, but I don’t know what else you can do.”

White attended last week’s game against UCLA and said he was surprised by the other university’s more lax restrictions, noting that Rose Bowl Stadium was packed to nearly 70 percent capacity.

He hopes to see that same energy in full force this weekend at Tiger Stadium.

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“We are traditionally recognized as one of the best home grounds and one of the toughest places to play for visiting teams, and by no means do we want to have that home field advantage neutralized by the challenges presented by (these guidelines),” White said.

LSU and Our Lady Lady of the Lake will offer vaccinations for free on game day at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, from noon to 6:30 p.m., and will be given a COVID-19 vaccination card.

LSU will also offer onsite rapid testing for fans who pre-register through the university. Only guests who are registered will be allowed to participate in game-day testing. Registration closes at 5 p.m. on Friday.

The cost for game-day testing is $35.

Also, in accordance with the governor’s indoor mask mandate, LSU Athletics will require all guests to wear masks in the indoor locations of Tiger Stadium. Masks will not be required for guests 12 years of age and older while outdoors but are recommended in highly congested areas.

Because guests ages under 12 years old are not eligible for vaccination, LSU Athletics will require those ages 5 to 11 and recommend those ages 2 to 4 to wear masks at all times after entrance into Tiger Stadium.

Restrictions aside, White has high hopes for LSU fans this season.

“When Auburn comes to town and Florida comes to town and Texas A&M comes to town, we don’t want to let our guard down at all,” he said. “We want the house to be as full and loud as it traditionally is.”