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LSU plans to increase security at its gymnastics meets following incidents involving unruly fans of Tigers junior Olivia Dunne at the team’s season opener at Utah 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 coach Jay Clark told ESPN ahead of Friday’s meet at Kentucky.
“I take our team’s safety and security very seriously,” Clark added.
The changes to LSU’s security protocols come after a group of young men holding posters and a full-size cutout of Dunne disrupted routines of the other athletes during last Friday’s meet in Salt Lake City. Even though Dunne was not in the Tigers’ lineup due to an injury, the overzealous fans chanted “We want Livvy! Give us Livvy!”
Former U.S. Olympic gymnastic team member and ESPN analyst Samantha Peszek also tweeted out video of a group of men outside of the arena after the meet, a number of which screamed Dunne’s name and yelled that they wanted to see her.
“This is actually so scary and disturbing and cringey,” Peszek wrote in her tweet with the video. “I’m embarrassed for them.”
Dunne, a 20-year-old TikTok influencer with 6.7 million followers who is also the highest-earning woman in college sports, addressed the incident on Sunday calling for all of her supporters to be respectful of others while competing.
“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,” she wrote in a tweet.
LSU, which entered the meet against No. 3 Utah as the No. 6 ranked program in the country, narrowly lost to the Pac-12 school, 197.275 to 196.725.
Following Friday’s competition against Kentucky, Dunne and the LSU team will return home to square off against defending national champion Oklahoma. Clark revealed that the school will also implement minor security modifications back on its own campus.
“We are going to change some of the policies of allowing the girls to go into the stands immediately following a meet,” he said, per ESPN. “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.”