Alabama Football: Vaccine requirement for game attendance hits SEC

Tiger Stadium - Baton Rouge Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Tiger Stadium - Baton Rouge Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

Many Alabama Football fans want an unfiltered, full capacity Bryant-Denny this fall. Increasingly it appears that might not be possible. On Tuesday it was learned LSU will control capacity at Tiger Stadium. The statement released by LSU said,

"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 move to such stringent controls may not become widespread. Recently Penn State announced it would not require vaccination proof at Beaver Stadium. Tulane was the first college football program to implement vaccine restrictions. The first Power Five program to implement COVID-driven attendance restrictions was Oregon. Oregon State quickly followed the move by the Ducks with its own requirement of vaccination passports and masking requirements.

Among NFL teams, the New Orleans Saints and the Las Vegas Raiders have instituted a vaccination requirement.

Will a decision be made to do the same at Alabama Football home games? So far, there is no indication the University will join what Tulane, Oregon, Oregon State and LSU are doing. Also on Tuesday, reported 72.4 percent of University of Alabama employees in Tuscaloosa have been vaccinated.

The situation is fluid and could quickly change. There will be attendance at games in large numbers. The only school that has limited attendance so far is the University of Hawaii. The opening season, home game for the Rainbow Warriors will be played without fans. The Hawaii program is responding to a recent COVID surge in the Aloha State that is so significant, travel advisories to the state are being considered.

Will Alabama Football be forced to do the same?

No Alabama Football fan takes satisfaction in imposing attendance restrictions at Bryant-Denny. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Ole Miss have been zealous in having programs with everyone vaccinated. Ole Miss is reportedly at 100 percent. The Alabama Football program is believed to have every individual but one vaccinated. Both Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin have been vocal about their belief citizens of Alabama and Mississippi should get vaccinated.

Also included in the media release form LSU was,

"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."

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A quick sampling of Crimson Tide message boards showed mixed opinions on LSU’s decision. A surprising number of Crimson Tide fans appear to believe the decision is warranted.