WSU coach unvaccinated, won’t attend media day

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Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich said Wednesday that he has chosen not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and that he will join Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles remotely Tuesday.

“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,” Rolovich said in a statement.

“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 athletic director Pat Chun said in a statement that he and Rolovich “have had multiple conversations regarding his decision not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

“While WSU has a vaccination mandate, there are policies and procedures for employees to follow who are not vaccinated. 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 said.

University president Kirk Schulz said in a subsequent statement that the school “expects all students, faculty, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester.” He also said the school “respects the right of individuals to decide whether to get vaccinated.”

Schulz said those who decide not to get vaccinated, whether for medical or non-medical reasons, are subject to an exemption process, and will be required to wear a mask and social distance.

Rolovich is the second coach scheduled to speak during Pac-12 media day, at 9:20 a.m. PT.

Washington State had two games canceled during the 2020 season because of COVID-19, against Cal and Washington, and finished 1-3 in Rolovich’s first season as coach.

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