Washington State coach Nick Rolovich says he plans to comply with state's mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirement

Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich's refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccine has reached an impasse.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a mandate Wednesday that all state employees working in an educational role from K-12 to higher education must be vaccinated by Oct. 18 or risk losing their jobs. The mandate is similar to one Inslee issued Aug. 9 for other state employees and healthcare workers.

"Just like the state worker mandate, there are limited exceptions under law which employees may apply for, including legitimate medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs," Inslee's statement reads. "Individuals who refuse to get vaccinated will be subject to dismissal."

Inslee clarified that this mandate includes Rolovich, who has thus far declined to be inoculated against COVID-19. Rolovich hasn't explained his decision, which forced him to miss Pac-12 media day in July as the only coach in the conference who wasn't vaccinated.

"As the Pac-12 Conference has required that all in-person participants at next week's Pac-12 Football Media Day be fully vaccinated, I will participate remotely and look forward to talking about our football team and the incredible young men in our program," Rolovich wrote in a July 21 statement. "I have elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons which will remain private."

Rolovich: I plan on following mandate

Wednesday afternoon, Washington State's athletic department followed Inslee's announcement with a statement of its own and said that it would "work to ensure the mandates" were followed.

“We applaud the efforts of Governor Inslee to protect the health and safety of the people of Washington,” the statement reads. “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.”

Thursday, Rolovich said that he planned on following Inslee's mandate.

#WSU coach Nick RoIovich indicates he'll get a COVID-19 vaccine: "I plan on following (Inslee's) mandate. For sure."

— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) August 19, 2021

Rolovich said that other unvaccinated coaches on Washington State's staff would likely also comply.

Rolovich on if other unvaccinated members of his coaching staff plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine: "I believe they all plan on following the mandate. It's what the deal is."

— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) August 19, 2021

Cougars have lowest inoculation rate in Pac-12

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Washington's State's 80% vaccination rate among players is the lowest in the Pac-12. Seven teams in the conference have at least 90% of their players vaccinated, according to the report.

The COVID-19 vaccine has taken on extra urgency amid the Delta variant that's responsible for a growing outbreak across the U.S. As of Wednesday, COVID-19 has claimed more than 620,000 American lives and killed more than 4.3 million worldwide, per Johns Hopkins data.

More from Yahoo Sports:

  • Polish Olympian auctions medal for infant's heart surgery

  • Haynes: Lakers work out Isaiah Thomas for roster spot

  • 49ers cut former first-round QB Josh Rosen

  • Robinson: NFL had this player in mind with taunting rule

Source: Read Full Article