LSU athletic director Scott Woodward talks about game day changes

LSU athletic director Scott Woodward talks about game day changes
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward (Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Things couldn’t have gone much better for Scott Woodward during his first year as LSU’s athletic director, as the Tigers enjoyed a magical 15-0, national championship season on the football field.

Needless to say, things have been much more challenging in year two but Woodward remains upbeat and excited about what lies ahead this fall.

So, what will Tiger Stadium look like when LSU opens up its season in late September? Perhaps it will be a little bit like in 2015 when the LSU-South Carolina game was moved to Baton Rouge from Columbia at the last minute because of flooding on the East Coast. LSU announced a paid crowd of 42,000 that day for its 45-24 win but it actually felt like fewer people than that.

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Woodward talked Wednesday, September 9, about what promises to be a football season like none other.

“It’s just been a really a phenomenal process; we couldn’t be more excited that we’re playing football this season and in Tiger Stadium in front of a limited but robust audience and I’m real excited about that part,” said Woodward.

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Scott, we’re in a pandemic. Obviously, some people say, ‘Don’t be greedy.’ On one hand, fans are excited the team is playing at all. On the other hand, only 25,000 fans will be allowed in the stadium and there’s no tailgating. There will also be no walk down Victory Hill and the Golden Band from Tigerland is not going to hit those four notes on the field before the game. Fans love those things almost as much as the football game itself.

“An old-timer gave me a great piece of advice and it’s a country saying, ‘Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.’ I’m happy with being a pig and I’m a happy pig right now. Couldn’t be more happy for where we started to where we are to playing, so as you well know, I’m an optimistic guy. I’m glass half-full kind of guy and I’m just amazed that we could get to this point with a lot of hard work and a lot of stipulations in place to make sure we can do it safely, that we can do it in a healthy fashion,” Woodward explained.

Fans are passionate about tailgating. Is it just a bad idea for anybody to try to go down there and think that they’re going to claim some piece of land and have a good time before the football game?

“Yeah, we want everyone to have a good time but this is unusual times and this is extraordinary things that we have to do. For this season, let’s don’t tailgate, guys. That’s what I plead everyone to do. Look, if you’re there with your family and you have a bucket of chicken and a couple beers, that’s not who we’re looking for and that’s not who we’re after. But if you’re having a 200 or 300-person mosh pit party, we’re not going to allow that and we’re going to be very, very vigilant about enforcing that thing. But like always, we’re going to be nice and we’re going to be educational to our fans. And so, hey, look, this is weird times, you know. You only can come four hours beforehand. We’re not going to have this business as usual, as far as tailgating goes. But have fun and just be safe,” Woodward added.

Woodward said he hopes more fans can attend LSU home games as the season progresses and certainly, many of those fans are looking towards that November 14 date when the Alabama Crimson Tide are scheduled to come to town. But that can only happen, he said, if fans continue to mask up, social distance, and stay clean.

Woodward also said the athletic department will take a heavy financial loss this year but no sports programs are in danger of being cut at this time.

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