Sep 4, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich looks during a gam e against the Utah State Aggies in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Rolovich could have coached final game at Washington State

Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich said he’s “waiting on an email” to find out whether he will keep his job because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state is mandating that school employees in Washington be fully vaccinated against the virus by Monday or have an approved exemption. Rolovich has applied for the exemption and is waiting for a decision by email.

“I’m going to come to work tomorrow and get ready for (upcoming opponent) BYU and grade this film,” Rolovich said after Saturday’s 34-31 defeat of Stanford. “I don’t think this is in my hands. I’ve been settled for a long time on it … I believe it’s going to work out the right way.”

Reporters asked if he meant keeping his job.

“Correct,” he said. “Or if that’s not what he (athletic director Patrick Chun) wants, then I guess I’ve got to move on. I like being the coach here. I love these kids. I’ve just got to have faith in it.”

On Aug. 18, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an order requiring everyone working or volunteering at levels from early learning to higher education at public, private or charter schools in Washington to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 “as a condition of employment.”

“Individuals who refuse to get vaccinated will be subject to dismissal,” according to Inslee’s order. The governor said there was no option to take COVID-19 tests instead of being vaccinated. There are “limited exceptions” someone working at an education facility could use to apply for an exemption, “including legitimate medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs.”

“I plan on following his mandate, for sure,” Rolovich said when asked about Inslee’s directive at the time. He has not shared anything other than to confirm he is seeking a religious exemption.

Rolovich is the highest-paid state employee at $3.2 million.

If the exemption request is denied, Rolovich still could save his job by getting a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Monday. If he declines, he will be terminated.

Should there be a backlog in the review process and his request is not processed by Monday, Rolovich would be placed on leave.

Rolovich, 42, was hired to coach the Cougars before the 2020 season. They were 1-3 last year in the virus-interrupted season and 4-3 so far in 2021.

He is the only head coach in the Pac-12 who is not vaccinated.

–Field Level Media

The LSU Tigers take on the Auburn Tigers in Tiger Stadium. Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

Half 1 Lsu Vs Auburn Football Fans 1099

LSU drops COVID-19 mandates for fans at Tiger Stadium

LSU is lifting its COVID-19 entrance policies for football games at Tiger Stadium, citing a “consistent and significant decline in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations” in the state, the school announced Friday in a news release.

The change takes effect starting with LSU’s game against Florida on Oct. 16. All fans still must wear masks in the indoor portions of the stadium.

On Aug. 24, LSU announced fans would be required to present a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination status to attend a game because of the growing threat of the Delta variant.

But that has changed, said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge and a member of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.

“The COVID-19 rates in Louisiana have dropped dramatically across the state over the last couple of weeks, and today, the state has a positivity rate below 5 percent,” she said in a school news release. “Because of this success, we are able to lift the vaccine and testing requirements for entry into Tiger Stadium. By balancing mitigation efforts and risk in the ongoing fight to end the pandemic, we can protect our community and safely celebrate the traditions that bring us together.”

Children under age 12, who haven’t been eligible to be vaccinated, no longer will be required to wear a mask in outdoor parts of the stadium.

Louisiana’s rate of COVID-19 positivity is at 3.72 percent in the past week. In the past month, it is 6.49 percent, per the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

LSU (3-2, 1-1 SEC) plays at No. 16 Kentucky (5-0, 3-0) on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) warms up prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Bills’ Cole Beasley, Reid Ferguson offer to buy road tickets for unvaccinated fans

Buffalo Bills receiver Cole Beasley remains defiant in his stance against the COVID-19 vaccination.

He disagrees with the rule that only vaccinated fans can attend the team’s home games at Highmark Stadium.

So does long snapper Reid Ferguson.

The players told unvaccinated fans via social media this week that if they could find tickets to a road game they can attend, the players will pick up the tab.
Currently the Bills are one of four teams — the Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints — to play in stadiums where fans are required to submit proof of vaccination for entry.

Earlier this week, Twitter user Chris Hauquitz tweeted his disappointment at Beasley.

“@Bease11 sad day for me as a Buffalo fan. I was bringing my 10 year old daughter to her first game in December all the way from Albuquerque,” Hauquitz wrote. “Already bought tickets. I won’t get the shot so now I don’t know what to do. I probably need to sell the tickets and find an away game.”

It got Beasley’s attention.

“If you find an away game you are able to go to then I will buy the tickets for you guys,” Beasley responded. “DM me names and every thing (and) I’ll figure out the best way to make it happen. Wish she could witness the mafia!”

Hauquitz, a father of five, told the Buffalo News that he had COVID-19 and believes he has the antibodies. He added he believes the vaccines were rushed to market and the information that is available “seems to be one-sided.”

Ferguson had a similar exchange with a fan from Nebraska.

The Bills play road games this season against fellow AFC East teams Miami, New York Jets and New England, as well as in Kansas City, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Tampa. They play in New Orleans in November, but vaccinations are mandated for Saints’ home games.

Hauquitz told The Buffalo News that Beasley was working to get tickets for the Chiefs game.

–Field Level Media

Aug 29, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer on the sidelines during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars: No player released because of vaccination status

The Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday issued a statement dismissing the notion that any player was released because of their vaccination status.

The statement came one day after Jaguars coach Urban Meyer said he and general manager Trent Baalke considered a player’s vaccination status during final roster cuts.

Meyer’s comments were not well received by the NFL Players Association, which has since launched an investigation into the matter.

The Jaguars said Wednesday that roster moves were made solely upon a player’s ability to help the team win.

“Availability is one of the many factors taken into account when making roster decisions. We have vaccinated and unvaccinated players on our roster, and no player was released because of their vaccination status,” the Jaguars said in a statement.

“Ultimately, decisions are based on a player’s ability to help the Jaguars win. We educate our players and respect personal decisions as it pertains to the vaccine. We want to keep our players, staff and families safe as we comply with protocols related to both health and safety and competition on game days.”

Meyer said the following on Tuesday in regard to the team’s decisions on player cuts:

“Everyone was considered. That was part of the (considerations such as) production, let’s start talking about this, and also is he vaccinated or not? Can I say that that was a decision-maker? It was certainly in consideration.”

–Field Level Media

Jun 15, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (19) catches a pass during minicamp at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Bills WR Isaiah McKenzie gets vaccinated after fine

Two days after Isaiah McKenzie was fined nearly $15,000 for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, the Buffalo Bills wide receiver shared an image on social media showing he had received his first vaccine shot.

McKenzie shared the image in an Instagram story with the caption, “For the greater good.”

McKenzie, 26, has 79 catches for 744 yards and six touchdowns in 50 career games (16 starts) with the Denver Broncos (2017-18) and Bills.

His post Thursday said that he and fellow Bills receiver Cole Beasley had been fined and would be subject to additional discipline for repeat violations, NFL Network reported.

The letter from the NFL posted by McKenzie said that he failed to wear a mask at least twice on Wednesday, once while walking through the indoor fieldhouse and into the training room, and again while in the meeting area of the weight room.

Potential discipline could stretch up to a four-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team under the repeat offenders provision in the NFL’s COVID-19 policy agreed upon by the NFLPA.

Beasley, who has been vocal in his anti-vaccine stance, did not disclose the amount of his fine. NFL Network reported it was for the same $14,650.

After a member of the Bills training staff, who was vaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, four Bills players were identified as close contacts and required to sit out five days. McKenzie was not one of those players. Beasley, receiver Gabriel Davis and defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Vernon Butler were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The NFL said Thursday that 120 players across the league have received warning letters and 25 have been fined for mask or tracking device violations.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2021; Hollywood, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich speaks with the media during the Pac-12 football Media Day at the W Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

State vaccine order could force out WSU coach Nick Rolovich

Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich could lose his job if he fails to comply with a state law mandating COVID-19 vaccines for those working in educational settings.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday issued an order requiring everyone working or volunteering at levels from early learning to higher education to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 “as a condition of employment.” The order includes public, private and charter schools and applies to everyone from teachers to coaches to bus drivers to support staff.

“Individuals who refuse to get vaccinated will be subject to dismissal,” according to Inslee’s order.

Inslee also reinstated a requirement for Washington residents to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, effective Monday amid rising COVID-19 cases in the state. Washington recently broke the previous record for COVID hospitalizations set in December, per Inslee’s office.

The issue of Rolovich’s vaccination status came to light in late July when he made a virtual appearance at Pac-12 media days, barred from the in-person gathering based on his decision not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m not against vaccinations, and I wholeheartedly support those who choose to get vaccinated, including our players,” Rolovich said at the time. “I urge everyone to consider being vaccinated.”

He has not disclosed why he has chosen to remain unvaccinated.

Inslee’s announcement said there is no option to take COVID-19 tests instead of being vaccinated. There are “limited exceptions” someone working at an education facility can use to apply for an exemption, “including legitimate medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs.”

In a statement released after Inslee announced his order, the Washington State athletic department voiced support.

“We applaud the efforts of Governor Inslee to protect the health and safety of the people of Washington,” the statement read. “Washington State athletics, including staff, coaches and student-athletes will continue to follow all campus, local, state, Pac-12 and NCAA guidelines related to health and safety surrounding COVID-19 and we will work to ensure the mandates in the Governor’s Proclamation are followed.”

Washington State went 1-3 in the abbreviated 2020 season, its first with Rolovich as head coach. The 42-year-old California native previously coached Hawaii to a 28-27 record from 2016-19.

The Cougars are scheduled to host Utah State to open the season on Sept. 4.

–Field Level Media

Jul 22, 2021; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during training camp practice at the Marriott Residence Inn. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: Vax status not ‘important’

Dak Prescott is off and running at training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, where he evaded questions Friday about his vaccination status.

The Cowboys are “making progress” toward team owner Jerry Jones’ goal of over 85 percent of the roster being fully vaccinated. Prescott was not as willing to talk about the COVID-19 immunization.

“I don’t necessarily think that’s exactly important,” Prescott said. “I think that’s HIPAA.”

HIPAA does not apply to individuals being asked to disclose their own personal health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is a federal law that restricts dissemination by third parties of any individual’s private medical information.

Ezekiel Elliott said this week he received the first of two doses as a commitment to being available to the Cowboys every week. Elliott tested positive for COVID-19 last year.

“I got the vaccine just because I wanted to put myself in the best situation to be out there for my team week in and week out,” Elliott said.

Prescott is moving without limitation and a full participant in practices, recovered from a season-ending ankle injury that required surgery and armed with a new long-term contract.

Jones said he appreciated former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin’s sentiment that players unwilling to be fully vaccinated were not fully committed to winning, labeling the message “outstanding.”

Prescott said in June — before the NFL clarified its vaccine policy, collectively bargained with the NFLPA — that he wouldn’t reveal his immunization status.

–Field Level Media

Nov 14, 2020; Pullman, Washington, USA;Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich talks with an official during a game against the Oregon Ducks in the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

WSU president weighs in on football coach’s non-vaccination

Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich appears to be at odds with university president Kirk Schulz, who said it is the expectation that all members of the campus community will be vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus for the new school year.

The statement Schulz issued late Wednesday came after Rolovich said he has chosen, for personal reasons, not to get the vaccine. Because he is not vaccinated, he must participate in the Pac-12 media day remotely. The conference is requiring everyone attending the event next week in Los Angeles to be fully vaccinated.

Schulz said that is his expectation for the Pullman, Wash., campus.

“Washington State University expects all students, faculty, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester,” his statement read. “As the state’s land-grant research university, WSU has an obligation to serve the public good and promote the health and safety of its communities. The science clearly shows that the COVID-19 vaccine nearly eliminates the chances of death or serious illness related to a COVID-19 infection and is a critical element in protecting public health locally and worldwide.”

Schulz said the university has an exemption process for people with both medical and non-medical reasons for not being vaccinated. Being unvaccinated will be more difficult for Rolovich to interact with his staff and team, however.

“Those requesting an exemption will be required to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing and may be subject to other public health measures when on WSU property,” Schulz said.

Rolovich’s announcement on Wednesday rippled across the state to the capital in Olympia, where Gov. Jay Inslee weighed in.

“Has he been suffering from misinformation? … Maybe we will give him a call and find out,” Inslee said, according to KHQ-TV in Spokane.

Washington State went 1-3 in the abbreviated 2020 season, its first with Rolovich as head coach. The 42-year-old California native previously coached Hawaii to a 28-27 record from 2016-19.

–Field Level Media

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces the final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: NFL loosens COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated players

NFL players who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will face far fewer restrictions and requirements as they head into the 2021 season.

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a set of more relaxed guidelines for vaccinated players to follow while keeping things stringent for those not fully vaccinated, multiple reports said Wednesday.

Fully vaccinated players no longer will be tested for COVID-19 daily, will not need to wear a mask while inside their teams’ facilities and will not face travel restrictions. They will not be required to quarantine if exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Other “perks” are included, too, including regaining access to cafeterias and saunas at team facilities. While traveling, vaccinated players will be allowed to see and interact with family members and friends who are also inoculated.

For non-vaccinated players, however, none of these guidelines apply. That group of players is still subject to mask-wearing, daily testing, physical distancing inside the club facility, travel restrictions and a required quarantine period if exposed to a COVID-positive person.

On a conference call Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not reveal what percentage of NFL players have gotten fully vaccinated yet, but he said that more than 90% of Tier 1 and Tier 2 staffers on 30 NFL teams have been inoculated, reports said. The other two teams have reached at least 85% vaccinated for those groups of staffers.

–Field Level Media

Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference ahead of Super Bowl 55, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.  Mandatory Credit: Perry Knotts/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

President Biden plans to use NFL stadiums for vaccinations

With the NFL season in the books, the league offered the use of its stadiums for mass COVID-19 vaccinations.

President Joe Biden said on CBS’ Super Bowl pregame show Sunday that his administration intends to take the NFL up on its offer.

“Absolutely we will,” President Biden told Norah O’Donnell. “I’m going to tell my team they’re available and I believe we’ll use them.”

Seven NFL stadiums were already being used as vaccination sites — the Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium, Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium, Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, Houston Texans’ NRG Park, Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium and the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium — but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to the President earlier in the week offering the remaining 23 stadiums.

Biden also expressed his “hope and expectation” that next year’s Super Bowl would be played in front of a fan-filled stadium.

–Field Level Media