Kalani Sitake Wants Education To Be BYU’s Focus With COVID-19 Vaccine

Aug 5, 2021, 4:32 PM | Updated: 4:56 pm
Kalani Sitake - BYU Football...
BYU Football head coach Kalani Sitake addressed the media after day one of fall camp 2021. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – The COVID-19 vaccine has been a big conversation entering the 2021 college football season. Especially due to the spike in cases nationally due to the Delta variant.

BYU football was one of the few programs last year that navigated the COVID-19 pandemic by playing a full 12-game season. This year, education on the vaccine has been a big focus for sixth-year head coach Kalani Sitake.

Sitake was asked by KSL Sports after practice what percentage of his team has been vaccinated.

Kalani Sitake on the BYU Football team’s vaccination rate

“I don’t know the details of it all. But I know that we’re working. It’s really important for us to get on the field. We’ve done a great job as a program and a department last year to get on the field and we’re going to do that now. I’m not going to get into the details of it all. I just know that it’s important to educate our players and to work well with the sports medicine department in order to get our guys on the field and to keep the community safe. That’s what we’re committed to doing.”

Earlier this week, the NCAA released new guidelines for the resocialization of fall sports. Players that are not vaccinated will be required to follow similar testing protocols as last season, with three tests per week. Vaccinated athletes will not be asked to test for COVID-19 unless they show symptoms.

Sitake’s program has brought medical experts to talk with his players to educate them on the vaccine.

“We’ve been communicating with the sports medicine department but also from our administration to Tom to all the way down. I think it’s important to educate all the players but also the staff.”

Sitake was asked if he would share the number of coaches on his staff who received the vaccine. He opted not to share those details. However, on Wednesday, BYU defensive end coach Preston Hadley was seen on Instagram getting his vaccination shot and graduate assistant coach Kyle Griffitts.

BYU as a school has not placed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on students

Brigham Young University has not placed a mandate on their students to get the vaccine. They did ask students earlier this week to classify their vaccination status to help with policy decisions for the upcoming fall semester.

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall, who enters camp vying for the starting job to replace Zach Wilson, was asked what the message has been from coaches to players regarding vaccines.

“It’s everyone’s choice, right? Obviously, we want to play and we want to have the opportunity to get through a full schedule healthy. That’s our focus is to keep everyone healthy,” Hall said. “But at the end of the day, it’s everyone’s choice. In regards to playing football, we know what certain conferences might request and so that’s a decision we’ll make when the time comes.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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