At a side glance, it was starting to look as if this was the "new normal," then happy days are here again, even if in double-secret quarantine.

Do a quick read and the first thought was that it was too good to be true.

But, finally, some uplifting news in this 2020 fiasco.

One day LSU was saying you won't need tickets to go to the Tigers' football games this season.

The next day the LSU hierarchy was saying, Hey, leave your wallet at home — you don't even need to bring any cash to Tiger Stadium.

By my quick (and reckless) reckoning that would mean a family of four (or 40) could now attend big-time college football games for the princely sum of 0 dollars and 0 cents.

But, of course, it's still 2020 and you needed to settle down and read the fine print.

Assuming the Southeastern Conference presses on, defies the odds and plays us some football, it won't be Your Father's College Football.

So sacrifices have to be made.

No, you don't need tickets. Good thing, too, since they won't exist — not the kind you preserve for posterity, maybe varnish or put behind plexiglass, for the really big wins.

That's soooo 2019.

From now on, it will be digital tickets only, for now mainly to minimize "points of contact" between fans and ticket takers, long term to bring everybody into the 21st century.

So don't forget your smartphone. Chances are it will be in there somewhere, although in some technologically challenged cases, it might take much point-of-contact, fan-ticket taker interaction to find it.

It's also true that your cold cash, the hard and crisp kind, is no good in Tiger Stadium, mister.

Full disclosure: Your actual money, your personal fortune, is still fair game, and LSU will do everything in its power to make it as convenient as possible to part with it in the stadium and, of course, the ever-popular Alumni Gift Shop.

All major credits cards, of course, along with Apple Pay, Google Pay and something called TigerCASH, which I have no idea what is, but I assume anybody who has some of it lying around does know. Maybe it's the Tigers' answer to Bitcoin? Win a national championship and yet another perk is that you get to change the nation's currency to fit your whim.

If it all seems too daunting, season-ticket holders have some options with what to do the money already expended for tickets to a nutty season.

You can convert it into Bitcoin. No, no, just kidding.

But you can do a tax-deductible donation. LSU suggests — well, it insists, actually — donating to the Tiger Athletic Foundation, the newly formed "Victory Fund," which conveniently is right there on campus.

Or you can rollover your investment to the 2021 season, which hopefully won't have all the catches.

Finally, as a last resort, there's the full-refund option, which won't cost you your spot in line for next year's season tickets.

All in all, it doesn't seem too big of a price to pay to whip this confounded pandemic.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Remember what they were saying about how if football is going to work it will take sacrifices from everybody?

This is some of what they were talking about, most of it from the SEC guidelines.

LSU doesn't know yet how many fans will be allowed in Tiger Stadium, but it's not likely to be many.

The SEC leaves that up to the members schools following local guidelines.

It's probably up to Gov. John Bel Edwards. But for the SEC schools that have already announced, it's been between 20 and 25 percent of capacity. For Tiger Stadium that's 20,600 to 25,750, a good spring game crowd if the weather is good.

They'll get back to you when they know more.

Look at it this way: it should cut down on those postgame traffic jams to the point you might get home by Wednesday.

If only one-fourth the usual fans are allowed in, I would suggest letting the lucky ones bring cardboard cutouts of their MIA brethren.

Regardless, all fans will have to wear masks, of course, as will the stadium workers and concession personnel, the latter of whom will also work behind plexiglass barriers while greeting socially distanced customers who will be following the proper signage for cueing up.

The conference is also encouraging "grab-and-go" concession options, and, no, Boudreaux, that doesn't mean fans are encouraged to "steal" hot dogs.

Apparently, if you do them in advance and wrap them up, it curtails that pesky point of contact thing.

Again, just spit-balling here. But if they're worried about the concession congestion and, there be being plenty of room in the stadium, this might be the perfect time to experiment with letting fans bring their personal-type ice chests into the stadium.

Probably won't happen.

But, OK, the worst has been saved for last.

Tailgating. The SEC wants to discourage it, if just for this season.

Yes, things just got serious.

LSU will need smelling salts. Ole Miss may cancel the season anyway.

People have to park somewhere. So you can't eliminate it.

But the SEC guidelines even suggest that nobody without a ticket (electronic, of course) be allowed in the immediate environs (two-day walking distance) of the stadium.

Tailgaters without tickets might seem crazy to outsiders, but, yes, it's quite a thing in the SEC, accepted without a thought.

Football may survive. Let us hope. It might even help things. But the Baton Rouge high social season just went kaput.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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