Nick Rolovich speaks with reporters after practice on Aug. 6 in Pullman. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Nick Rolovich speaks with reporters after practice on Aug. 6 in Pullman. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

WSU’s Rolovich to follow vaccine mandate

It’s still unclear whether or not the second-year coach will get the vaccine or seek exemption.

A day after Gov. Jay Inslee announced that all employees working in educational roles must be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment, Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich said he plans to follow the state’s mandate.

“I plan on following (Inslee’s) mandate,” Rolovich told reporters after practice Thursday in Pullman. “For sure.”

Inslee’s mandate requires public, private and charter school employees in Washington state to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18, with the only exemptions being for medical or religious reasons. The mandate applies to Rolovich, who last month said he would not get vaccinated, citing reasons that “will remain private.”

“Anybody in a leadership position in the state of Washington, I believe, has an obligation to lead and use their leadership position to save lives,” Inslee told The Associated Press last month. “Governors, senators, football coaches — help lead. Lead the effort to defeat COVID.”

Inslee announced Aug. 9 that most state employees and health-care workers would be required to receive a vaccine, but that mandate didn’t cover K-12 or higher-education institutions. WSU also has mandated that students and faculty members get vaccinated, with faculty being exempt for personal reasons along with religious and medical.

The mandates come as the state grapples with a surge of COVID-19 cases that matches the state’s previous high daily totals set in January. Inslee said the vast majority of cases and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated individuals.

“More than 95% of the COVID hospitalizations we see today are among the unvaccinated,” Inslee said at a news conference Wednesday. “And it is heart-rending for us to see losing our neighbors, our co-workers, our students to a preventable disease.”

According to a report from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, 80% of WSU’s football players have been vaccinated — the lowest vaccination rate among the 10 Pac-12 programs that reported results. Rolovich is the only unvaccinated head football coach.

WSU athletic director Pat Chun, who is vaccinated, said last week he supports Rolovich and expected public backlash to the coach’s decision.

“Nick and I talked it through, and we both knew there would be [an uproar],” Chun told The Times. “Everyone understands this a very political issue with the vaccine. To Nick’s credit, he wanted to be transparent about why he wasn’t going to be there. I care about Nick, he’s a good person — and I understood the second he made that statement, the impact that would have on him personally and professionally. That was a heavy toll that was going to be paid with the announcement.”

Rolovich said he has been getting daily COVID-19 tests and following protocols while leading the team during fall camp. The Cougars begin their regular season Sept. 4 against Utah State.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Tennessee's Natalie Hayward, an Archbishop Murphy graduate, serves during a game against Texas Tech on Aug. 27, 2021, in Knoxville, TN. (University of Tennessee athletics)
Murphy grad leads Tennessee volleyball into national spotlight

Setter Natalie Hayward has won three SEC Player of the Week awards this season for the 21st-ranked Lady Vols.

California running back Christopher Brooks (34) scores a touchdown as Washington State defensive lineman Jesus Echevarria (78) and others watch in the first quarter of an NCAA football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/John Hefti)
Community roundup: Murphy alum earns scholarship at WSU

Jesus Echevarria is awarded for his hard work, Washington Golf honors local standouts, and more.

White line on Green grass sport field for sport concept
Prep results for Tuesday, Oct. 26

Prep results for Tuesday, Oct. 26: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Seattle Kraken center Ryan Donato, second from right, celebrates with teammates Jared McCann (16) and Adam Larsson, right, as Montreal Canadiens center Cedric Paquette (13) looks on after Donato scored a goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Seattle. The Kraken won 5-1. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Kraken topple Canadiens 5-1 for first home win

Brandon Tanev scores twice as Seattle nabs its first win at Climate Pledge Arena.

Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson scores past Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro on a sacrifice fly during the eighth inning of Game 1 in baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Braves top Astros in Game 1 of World Series

Atlanta overcomes an injury to starting pitcher Charlie Morton to beat Houston 6-2.

Monroe’s Iseah Canizales attempts a reception over Snohomish’s Joshua Vandergriend Friday night at Monroe High School on October 22, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
3 takeaways from Week 8 of prep football in Snohomish County

Monroe-Snohomish may’ve been the game of the year. Also, Kamiak proved doubters wrong in a close loss.

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Rasheem Green (94) brings down New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Grading the Seahawks in their 13-10 loss to the Saints

The offense receives a failing grade as Seattle continues to miss quarterback Russell Wilson.

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers (5) walks off the field after missing a field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Seattle. The Saints won 13-10. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Lifeless offense, late mistakes plague Seahawks in loss

Seattle’s offense sputtered, the defense committed costly penalties and Jason Meyers missed 2 FGs.

X
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Oct. 18-24

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Oct. 18-24. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Most Read