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LSU becomes first SEC school to require vaccine or negative test to attend games

LSU's move follows similar requirements by the New Orleans Saints and Tulane

LSU on Tuesday became the latest program to require proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend games at Tiger Stadium.

The move follows a mandate by the city of New Orleans, which will apply to Saints games. Tulane will also require vaccination or a negative test to attend games at its outdoor stadium. 

The policy goes into effect with the Tigers' Sept. 11 home opener with McNeese. LSU hosts Central Michigan the following week, followed by Auburn, Kentucky and Florida on the first three Saturdays in October. 

This move was not mandated by local government but LSU noted Tuesday's announcement came "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."

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.

“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.”

LSU becomes the first SEC school to require vaccinations or a negative test to attend games, but it may not be the last. Of the 10 states with the highest number of hospitalized patients, nine are home to SEC schools. Louisiana currently lists 57 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, according to the New York Times, third highest in the country. Alabama is second with 59, and Florida leads the nation with 80. Mississippi and Georgia are both above 50 per 100K.

Louisiana averages 1.21 deaths per 100,000 residents over the last two weeks, most in the nation, and a reported 40 percent of its population is fully vaccinated, sixth-lowest in the United States. 

Oregon and Oregon State on Friday to become the first Power 5 schools to require vaccines or a negative test to enter games, and the first to do so outside any moves by local government. Hawai'i has announced it will not allow any fans at home games, a move mandated by local government