LSU students are adjusting to the new normal in Tiger Stadium this year after the season opener against Mississippi State on Sept. 26.
The University and its athletics department implemented several major changes in an effort to abide by CDC guidelines and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The whole atmosphere was different to say the least,” mass communication graduate student Murry Goldberg said.
Goldberg watched the Tigers take on the Bulldogs from the Stadium Club, which includes interior and exterior seating. There, he said, he felt comfortable in terms of social distancing thanks to sectioned-off seating.
Though the University requires all fans to wear face coverings at all times, Goldberg said many took them off once seated.
“Looking out into the lower bowl, I saw a similar lack of mask wearing, but much less social distancing,” Goldberg said. “I felt like the university did well in requiring masks to enter the stadium, but I did not see much enforcement of the rule once inside.”
Though over 75,000 seats remained vacant for the game, Goldberg said the Tiger spirit was still alive.
Accounting senior Abigail Gilbert described the atmosphere as more “laid back” this year compared to previous seasons.
“[It was] honestly nicer in the sense that being in the air conditioning was better than being out in the hot sun, but I did miss all the usual game day things,” Gilbert said.
With a ban on tailgating this year, LSU fans are forced to hold any pre-game activities off campus.
Officers patrolled the campus flooded with “no tailgating” signs to ensure fans abided by the rules.
LSU required all fans to fill out a CDC wellness check prior to entering the stadium, but gave the boot to the survey on Monday, Oct. 6, in an effort to “reduce lines and wait times at entry points.”
Goldberg said he believes the University’s decision is “a shame” because he found it to be easier than ever to enter the stadium.
Gilbert entered the stadium through a general gate. She said she noticed some “clumping” of fans in the lines for entry.
Aside from this, Gilbert said she was happy with how Tiger fans handled the first game of the new season.
“It’s an adjustment for everyone, and this was kind of the first game day trial for us like this, so I think we did a fairly good job,” Gilbert said.