PULLMAN, Washington (LifeSiteNews) – Washington State University fired head football coach Nick Rolovich on Monday for not abiding by COVID jab mandates imposed by Democrat Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and the school.
Athletic director Pat Chun and WSU president Kirk Schultz made the announcement at a news conference. Four assistant coaches also were fired for refusing the vaccine.
The mandate, issued in August, required most Washington state employees to receive the injection by October 18 unless they received a medical or religious exemption. The university issued its own requirement shortly afterward.
“The noncompliance with this requirement renders [Rolovich] ineligible to be employed at Washington State University and therefore can no longer fulfill the duties as a head coach of our football program effective immediately,” Chun said. “It is disheartening to be here today. Our football team is hurting. Our WSU community is fractured. Today will have a lasting impact on the young men on our team and the remaining coaches and staff.”
Rolovich, a state employee, was under contract until 2025. He tweeted in July that he would not take the COVID jab for personal reasons, though he respected people to make their own decisions.
— Nick Rolovich (@NickRolovich) July 21, 2021
Rolovich had been in discussions with Chun about the vaccine for several months. Chun said he could not change Rolovich’s mind and that “he was resolute in his stance.” Rolovich filed for a religious exemption on October 9, five days after WSU’s deadline for requesting an exemption. The request was denied Monday.
Rolovich was asked last Saturday during a press conference if he would be the coach this week. He said then he did not know, and when asked a follow-up question about guidance regarding his exemption request, he said he was awaiting an email. He went on to say that “I don’t think that 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.”
Chun confirmed that Rolovich’s dismissal was “for cause,” citing his inability to meet the requirements outlined in his contract.
“The university has been very clear on all the steps that needed to be taken in order to be eligible to work on October 19. … Relative to which shot you took, one of those deadlines had to be hit. Every employee of WSU fully understood what had to be done to be in compliance with the governor’s proclamation,” he said.
Schultz said the matter had become a public relations headache and that he felt Rolovich’s decision was affecting the university’s image. He also said the school had begun the “separation process” with 50 other employees over the jab. According to Schultz, about 90% of employees and 97% of students have received the poke, and that out of 10,000 employees, less than 50 had sought exemptions.
Rolovich’s dismissal comes on the heels of an appellate court’s decision that Western Michigan University’s jab mandate affecting athletes violated religious liberties.
LifeSiteNews reached out to Washington State for comment and has yet to receive a response.