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WSU football coach is unvaccinated, unable to attend Pac-12 media day

Nick Rolovich, head coach of the Washington State Cougars, adjusts his mask during their game against the Utah Utes on Dec. 19, 2020, at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

The head football coach at Washington State University, Nick Rolovich, will not attend Pac-12 football media day because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Rep. Walsh: ‘Very questionable’ whether WSU can enforce vaccine mandate

The conference has required that all in-person media day participants be fully vaccinated, so Rolovich says he will participate remotely instead.

Rolovich says his reasoning for not receiving the vaccine 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,” he wrote.

After the news broke, WSU President Kirk Schulz issued a statement reiterating that the university expects students, faculty, staff, and volunteers to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester.

That full statement is below:

Washington State University expects all students, faculty, staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester. 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.

Washington State University respects the right of individuals to decide whether to get vaccinated. WSU has instituted an exemption process for those who have medical or non-medical reasons for not receiving the vaccine.

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.

This will be Rolovich’s second season as the head coach at WSU. He was announced as the new head coach in January 2020, replacing Mike Leach. Before that, from 2016-19, Rolovich was the head football coach for the University of Hawaii.

In 2020, WSU football played just four games and had two games — including the Apple Cup rivalry game against the University of Washington — canceled due to COVID-19 issues.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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