LSU is stepping up security around its gymnastics meets following an incident involving disruptive fans of Tigers star Olivia Dunne at the team’s season opener at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City last Friday.
“We will have security detail with us now when we go on the road and we will be working to create a perimeter around where we get on the bus, where we load,” LSU head coach Jay Clark told reporters.
The Tigers are on the road Friday at the University of Kentucky. “I take our team’s safety and security very seriously,” Clark said.
During last Friday’s meet against the sixth-ranked Red Rocks, a group of young men holding posters and a full-sized cutout of Dunne screamed and chanted, disrupting the routines of other athletes. Although Dunne, a TikTok influencer with 6.7 million followers and the highest-earning woman in college athletics, was not in LSU’s lineup because of an injury, the group continued to chant, “We want Livvy! Give us Livvy!”
A day after the meet, ESPN analyst Sam Peszek, a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, tweeted a video of the group lined up outside the arena Friday afternoon chanting, “Livvy, Livvy! We want her!”
“This is actually so scary and disturbing and cringey,” Peszek wrote. “I’m embarrassed for them.”
On Sunday, Dunne responded to the incident on Twitter, writing, “I will always appreciate and love the support from you guys, but if you come to a meet, I want to ask you to please be respectful of the other gymnasts and the gymnastics community as we are just doing our job.”
A spokesperson for Kentucky told ESPN the school’s policy is not to disclose security plans publicly but said, “as we would at any home athletic event, we would deal appropriately with anyone acting improperly.”
LSU’s home opener is Monday against defending national champion Oklahoma. Clark said security will look largely the same as it has in the past at home meets, with minor modifications.
“We are going to change some of the policies of allowing the girls to go into the stands immediately following a meet,” he said. “We’ve always allowed them to go up there post-meet with their families and interact with them. We want to make sure we still provide them with that time with their families, but there won’t be any more going into the stands and there will be a limited amount of time that they can interact with the fans in the stands over the rail and that will be monitored closely.”
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