Washington State Football Head Coach Nick Rolovich took a public stance against COVID-19 vaccination, despite a state mandate that applies to public education workers. You are no longer a state employee.
Rolovich and four members of his staff, assistant head coach John Richardson, co-offensive coordinator Craig Stutzmann, offensive line coach Mark Weber and defensive tackling coach Ricky Logo, were fired Monday.
John Canzano of The Oregonian reported that the state of Washington fired Rolvoch for a cause.
“It is discouraging to be here today. Our soccer team is suffering, our WSU community is fractured. Today will have a lasting impact on the youth of our team and the rest of the coaches and staff,” said the Washington State Athletic Director, Pat Chun, at a press conference. “As athletic director and delegate for this department, I take responsibility and responsibility for hiring Nick in January 2020 based on all the information we had at the time, including extensive referrals and discussions with soccer experts. We believe we found The perfect fit and long-term solution for Washington State soccer.
“Unfortunately, we are here today having to make a transition. Being at this juncture today is unacceptable on many levels and is the antithesis of the WSU experience that our student-athletes deserve so much. I am saddened by our soccer alumni and all of us. Cougs around the world proud of the fracture that has occurred in the last few months.
Rolovich leaves the show amid a 4-3 season (3-2 Pac-12) and with a matchup Saturday against previously ranked BYU. Washington State is third in Pac-12 North.
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Sporting News looks at what led to Rolovich’s firing.
Why did the state of Washington fire Nick Rolovich?
The reason is simple: Rolovich and four of his assistants were not vaccinated before Monday’s deadline to receive the vaccine.
The university said in a statement shared by Action Network’s Brett McMurphy that state agencies are prohibited from allowing workers who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to work for them after Monday.
Washington State promoted defensive coordinator Jake Dickert to interim head coach.
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“This is a discouraging day for our soccer program. Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the youth on our team. The leadership of our soccer team is filled with youth of character, altruism and resilience and we are confident that these same attributes will help guide this program as we move forward, “Chun said in the university statement.
Rolovich had a timeline that he had to adhere to. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has ordered that state employees, including those working in institutions of higher education, be vaccinated.
According to the state website, employees were to be fully vaccinated on Monday. The requirement even extends to contractors, volunteers, and others who work in those settings. Rolovich fits into the category of employee.
Rolovioch applied for a religious exemption before the deadline. After the team’s win against Stanford on Saturday, Rolovich said he had not been updated on the status of his application. according to ESPN.
“I’m coming to work (Sunday) … I don’t think this is in my hands,” Rolovich said, according to ESPN. “So I’ve settled for a long time and I think it will work out in the right way.”
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While no additional details of his firing have been released, Rolovich was not allowed to be in a state higher education institution after October 18, as he had not been vaccinated or received an exemption. That would explain why he was fired for good cause.
University administrators previously expressed their frustrations with the coach’s refusal to get vaccinated, especially after Washington state ordered its students to receive the vaccine as well. Washington State President Kirk Schulz said The New York Times last week that Rolovich’s position skewed “the perception of our message.”
“In most colleges, people pay attention to what the college president, the soccer coach, the basketball coach, and the athletic director have to say – that’s the reality,” Schultz said. “People see them as leaders because they are very visible and highly compensated. It doesn’t help when there are people who are contrary to the direction we are going.”
According to the Times report published Oct. 10, Washington state employees had made 437 religious exemption requests, 98 granted.
Why did Nick Rolovich reject the COVID-19 vaccine?
Rolovich first made his stance against receiving the vaccine known in a July tweet in which he said he chose not to receive it “for reasons that will remain private.” He said he couldn’t attend Pac-12 Media Days in person.
Rolovich said in the tweet that he would not comment further on his position. He did not comment until a story posted by USA Today on October 9 in which his mentor, former Hawaii coach June Jones, said Rolovich had applied for the exemption.
Rolovich said after his team’s game against Oregon State that day that he was “not very happy with the way it happened.”
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“I hope that no player I coach wakes up and feels the way I did today,” Rolovich said. “I don’t think it was malicious, but to be honest, it wasn’t a big thing to wake up to.”
Nick Rolovich’s Washington State Contract
According to The Seattle Times, there were clear lines in Rolovich’s contract that allowed him to be fired.
“The employee agrees to dedicate his best efforts to the performance of his duties for the University, and to comply with and with the support of all rules, regulations, policies and decisions established or issued by the University”, reads Section 1.2 of the contract, according to the Times.
The contract also stated that “willful and serious violations” of Section 1.2 “or refusal or unwillingness to perform such duties in good faith and to the best of the Employee’s abilities” would lead to termination for “Just Cause. “.
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The Seattle Times reported that Rolovich receives $ 2 million a year in base salary and has three more seasons left on his contract. If Rolovich were fired without cause, he would have been owed $ 3.6 million.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.