The morning after the Saints debuted a fan-unfriendly and totally-unscientific COVID restriction scheme targeting their fans for the first preseason game last night, LSU has decided to follow suit with a similar infliction on their own football fans. To get into Tiger Stadium this fall you’ll be required to show proof of either a vaccine or a negative COVID test.
When the Saints inflicted this on their fans, they at least had the “just followin’ orders” defense, as New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell had imposed the vaccine passport scheme on the entire city, a jurisdiction in which resides the Superdome. There was no way around it.
But LSU’s situation is a little different. There is no statewide vaccine passport scheme, though Gov. John Bel Edwards is now attempting to force state employees to take the jab now that the Pfizer vaccine has been given FDA approval.
Instead, this was the university’s new president, Social Justice Warrior William Tate, making the decision.
With the significant threat presented by COVID-19 across the state of Louisiana due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, LSU will require all Tiger Stadium guests 12 years of age and older to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to entry. The decision comes after consultation with – and support from – Governor John Bel Edwards, LSU President William F. Tate IV, LSU’s Board of Supervisors, Tiger Athletic Foundation, and Director of Athletics Scott Woodward.
“As the flagship institution of the state of Louisiana, our foremost responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students, our supporters, and our community,” Tate said. “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. 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.”
The policy will be in effect beginning on September 11th for the home football opener against McNeese State. A list of vaccination sites in Louisiana is available at www.ldh.la.gov.
To gain entry into Tiger Stadium, guests 12 and older must show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that has received full approval or emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. A vaccination card, a photo or photocopy of a vaccination card, or verified digital proof of vaccination, including LA Wallet or another government-sanctioned mobile app, will be accepted, with entry granted upon visual inspection.
Those who have not yet received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine must present digital or hard copy proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of kickoff prior to entering the stadium. Guests younger than 12 will not need to present a negative test; masks will be encouraged for children younger than 5 and required for children ages 5 to 11 years old.
“We have the best fans in college football, and we are doing everything we can to ensure their experience in Tiger Stadium this fall is safe and enjoyable,” Woodward said. “When our fans arrive on Saturdays to cheer on the Tigers, they will have confidence that we have taken measures to mitigate their health risks. Our football team has reached 99.1% vaccination, and we are incredibly proud of them for doing their part to protect their team and their community. We are confident our fans will do the same, and I encourage all Tiger fans to receive vaccinations today.”
LSU Athletics will continue to update fans on this season’s procedures – including gameday prescreening options to expedite entry, further masking requirements, pop-up vaccination events, FAQs for all safety protocols, and more – as they are finalized. The first update will be posted on Friday, August 27 at LSUSports.net and distributed across LSU Athletics’ platforms. Season ticket holders with questions regarding refund policies must email [email protected] by Friday, August 27.
No word yet that we’ve seen as to whether LSU will institute a refund or opt-out policy for ticketholders who choose not to vaccinate.
As with the Saints, the most convenient option for those people likely involves putting tickets on StubHub and therefore recouping the money spent on season tickets without losing seating priority by canceling ticket accounts. The Saints are so far offering refunds for the vaccine-hesitant, after having been slapped down by Attorney General Jeff Landry for their initial refusal, but those refunds come with account cancellations, so if you want to return to the fold next year you start off at the bottom of the list.
LSU being a state actor rather than a private entity, the politicians will likely be involved in this.
It’s worth noting that Louisiana’s legislature passed a bill through both houses this spring which would have prevented discrimination by government agencies and officials on the basis of vaccination status. That bill was HB 498 by Rep. Kathy Edmonston, and it passed with 71 votes in the House and 25 (not including Republicans Franklin Foil and Barry Milligan, who were absent) in the Senate. HB 498 wasn’t brought up for a vote in the House during the veto session; it was pretty clear after the House’s failure to override the veto of the girls’ sports bill that Edwards had enough of a hold on the Democrats to deny a supermajority on anything.
Still, it’s clear there are enough opponents of these kinds of vaccine mandates and vaccine passports that Louisiana’s legislature could quash the current state of emergency by petition in both houses if the political will existed.
And given the primacy of LSU football in this state – after all, in Edwards’ first year in office he was able to ram through the better part of a billion dollars a year in new taxes on the threat that he’d kill college football in Louisiana if he didn’t get what he wanted – perhaps this might be enough to shake the legislators from their slumber.
We’re not betting on that. It’s going to take the people of this state waking up to fix anything.
If you’re tired of this Chinese-style COVID wokism, then you’re going to have to act on your own. Vaccinated or not, Tiger Stadium ought to be off limits to lovers of freedom this fall.
UPDATE: Oh, by the way – we should point out that this obnoxious overreach takes place at a time when Louisiana’s rate of transmission is now significantly lower than at any time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. So no, it isn’t necessary.