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