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College Football Coach Parts Ways Over Covid Vaccine Mandate

Washington State’s Nick Rolovich has been fired after the coach, among the state’s highest paid workers, declined to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s mandate for state employees by Monday to be vaccinated or receive an approved exemption and accommodation.

Director of Athletics Pat Chun called it a, “disheartening day” for the football program.

“It’s a tough day for Washington State Football,” Chun said. “Nobody wants to be here. I have a lot of empathy for the young men in that locker room.”

For months he refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and as deadline day inched closer for the state vaccine mandate, Rolovich did not change his mind.

He had asked for a religious exemption.

“He was resolute in his stance and he’s ready to make a choice that choice did not put him in compliance with the proclamation from the governor and that’s why we sit here today,” Chun said.

Four WSU assistant coaches have been fired for not complying with the mandate.

Defensive tackles coach Ricky Logo, cornerbacks coach John Richardson, quarterbacks coach Craig Stutzmann and offensive line coach Mark Weber are being let go.

Chun said defensive coordinator Jake Dickert is acting head coach.

Chun said a contingency plan has been in the works, especially with the Cougs getting ready to face a tough challenger: Brigham Young University.

“I’m going to tell everybody the same thing: take a deep breath,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “Let’s watch what this football team does, watch what coach Dickert can do with our young men.”

The mandate announced in August also covers public, charter and private school teachers and staff. It allows for religious or medical exemptions but does not allow for a weekly testing alternative, and those who are not fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 were told they could lose their employment.

When sked if he would wait for full FDA approval before receiving the vaccine, Rolovich repeated his plan to follow the mandate.

Rolovich was beginning his second season in charge of the Cougars. He participated in Pac-12 media day last month remotely after announcing his decision not to get vaccinated. His announcement had drawn attention from the top levels of the state government. Rolovich is one of two state employees making more than $3 million, along with Washington coach Jimmy Lake.

Rolovich had previously said he was not against vaccination and supported the decision of others to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Before the start of preseason camp, Washington State’s vaccination rate as a team was around 75 percent.

Despite the uncertainty around Rolovich’s job status, the team has been on a roll winning its third consecutive game Saturday.

Now the team will look to continue its momentum without former head coach Rolovich.

A decision with big implications outside the football program.

“I would be naïve of me to say this wasn’t affecting the perception of Washington state university, certainly in the state with prospective students, donors, with lots of people around,” Schulz said.

“Unfortunately, we’re here today and we ultimately have to move forward,” Chun said.

Author : Tammy Mutasa

Source : Komo News : Nick Rolovich out at Washington State over COVID vaccine mandate

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