Washington State Football Coach May Need COVID-19 Vaccine Or He Gets Fired

Aug 18, 2021, 5:30 PM | Updated: 9:50 pm
Nick Rolovich - Washington State...
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 06: Head coach Nick Rolovich of the Washington State Cougars looks on during the second half of a game against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Coliseum on December 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Last month at Pac-12 Media Day, Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich attended virtually due to his personal decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

That decision goes under the spotlight again after Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced that all higher education employees in the Evergreen State, including coaches, will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by October 18.

If employees do not get fully vaccinated by the October 18 deadline, their employment will be subject to dismissal. Rolovich is currently the highest-paid employee in the state of Washington. In 2020, he earned a salary of $3,196,500.

Nick Rolovich elected not to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Washington higher education employees are exempt from getting the vaccine for medical reasons and “sincerely held religious beliefs.” On July 21, Rolovich issued a statement that he had chosen not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. But did not disclose his reasoning for not getting the vaccine.

“As the Pac-12 Conference has required that all in-person participants at next week’s Pac-12 Football Media Day be fully vaccinated, I will participate remotely and look forward to talking about our football team and the incredible young me in our program. I have elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons which will remain private. While I have made my own decision, I respect that every individual –including our coaches, staff and student-athletes– can make his or her own decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. I will not comment further on my decision,” Rolovich wrote in a statement.

If Rolovich has a medical reason or religious belief, he will be exempt from getting the vaccine. If not, it could cost him his job. Rolovich took over as Washington State’s head coach in 2020 after Mike Leach took the same position at Mississippi State. WSU finished 1-3 in his first season last year.

This fall, Washington State plays all three of the FBS programs here in Utah, starting with their season opener on September 4 against Utah State in Pullman.

The Cougs also face Pac-12 foe Utah here in Salt Lake City on September 25 and then host BYU for the first time in Pullman on October 23. Five days after the vaccination deadline established by Governor Inslee.

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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Washington State Football Coach May Need COVID-19 Vaccine Or He Gets Fired