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Overzealous Olivia Dunne Fans Cause LSU to Increase Security for Gymnastics Meets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 06: Olivia Dunne of LSU takes a 'selfie' with fans after a PAC-12 meet against Utah at Jon M. Huntsman Center on January 06, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

LSU gymnastics will increase the security surrounding its team after overzealous fans of Olivia Dunne disrupted competitions and caused a scene following its meet at the University of Utah on 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 said, per Alyssa Roenigk of ESPN.

Dunne is a social media star with 6.7 million followers on TikTok, who has leveraged her popularity to capitalize on the new name, image and likeness rules in college sports.

She didn't compete in Friday's match because of an injury, but that didn't stop fans from chanting her name and disrupting the competition. Following the meet, a large group of Dunne's fans waited for her outside the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.

Josh Furlong of KSL was on the scene in Utah, reporting, "There's literally a line outside of the Huntsman Center of teenage boys that keep asking if Livvy is coming out. I've never seen anything like this."

Furlong noted LSU had to move its team bus to avoid the crowd.

ESPN analyst Samantha Peszek posted a video of the alarming scene following the meet on Friday:

Samantha Peszek @samanthapeszek

This is actually so scary and disturbing and cringey. I'm embarrassed for them… <a href="https://t.co/h23bBdBQ9B">pic.twitter.com/h23bBdBQ9B</a>

Dunne took to Twitter to thank fans for the support and urge for more respectful behavior for the other competitors:

Olivia Dunne @livvydunne

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❀️

The Tigers are scheduled to face Kentucky on the road on Friday before their home opener against Oklahoma on Monday. A Kentucky spokesperson said, "as we would at any home athletic event, we would deal appropriately with anyone acting improperly."

On3 Sports lists Dunne's NIL valuation at $2.7 million, which is the seventh-highest in all of college sports and behind names such as Bronny James, Caleb Williams, Arch Manning, Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud.