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WSU coach Nick Rolovich won't attend Pac-12 event after choosing not to get COVID-19 vaccine

WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun said there are policies and procedures for employees who are not vaccinated to follow.

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University (WSU) Head Football Coach Nick Rolovich says he will not participate on site at next week’s Pac-12 football media day in Los Angeles after choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The conference is requiring all in-person participants to be fully vaccinated. 

Head Football Coach Nick Rolovich tweeted the following statement about his decision:

“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 men 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.”

Washington State star running back Max Borghi and linebacker Jahad Woods will go in person for Pac-12 Media Day as player representatives. That means both players are fully vaccinated.

In a statement, WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun said he and Coach Rolovich have had "multiple conversations" regarding his decision to not receive a COVID-19 vaccine. WSU does have a vaccination requirement, but there are policies and procedures for employees who are not vaccinated to follow, he added. 

"As a department, we will continue to educate our student-athletes, staff and coaches on the benefits of vaccinations and do all that we can to protect the health and safety of those in our charge," Chun wrote in the statement. 

KREM 2 also reached out to the Pac-12 about Rolovich's announcement as well but the organization declined to comment.

WSU announced in late April that all students and staff will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19 for the fall 2021 semester. According to the university, students and staff will have to provide proof of the COVID-19 vaccination to engage in activities at a WSU campus or location. 

On Wednesday, WSU president Kirk Schulz reiterated the universities position on COVID-19 vaccines. They continue to expect all students, faculty, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester. 

Schulz explains that the science clearly shows that the COVID-19 vaccine nearly eliminates the chances of death or serious illness related to a COVID-19 infection.

He said WSU has instituted an exemption process for those who have medical or non-medical reasons for not receiving the vaccine.

The university will accept proof of any vaccine that was authorized for use in the United States. For vaccinations requiring two doses, students and employees must have received both doses of the vaccine to meet the requirement. 

Exemptions to the vaccine requirement will be allowed for medical, religious or personal reasons, WSU leaders said. Any employees and volunteers who receive exemptions may be subject to COVID‑19 testing and/or other COVID‑19 public health measures, according to the university. 

Rolovich was hired by WSU in January 2020. Rolovich spent eight seasons with the University of Hawaii, serving as head coach for the last four years. Before Hawaii, he was the University of Nevada's offensive coordinator and spent two years as quarterbacks coach at City College of San Francisco.

Rolovich is the Cougars 33rd head football coach, according to the university.