AP Photo/Young Kwak, File

Nick Rolovich Appeals Washington State Dismissal After Not Getting COVID-19 Vaccine

Scott Polacek

Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich filed an appeal Tuesday arguing against the school's decision to fire him for going against the requirement for all state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Kyle Bonagura and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN reported athletic director Pat Chun has 10 days to review the appeal and make a decision. If he upholds the decision to fire the coach, Rolovich can issue another appeal to university president Kirk Schulz.

The coach's appeal said Chun should "reexamine [his] illegal and unconstitutional conduct" prior to a civil rights lawsuit. It also said the athletic director was not receptive to the coach's "expressed religious and scientific reasoning for refusing to receive a COVID vaccine."

Bonagura and Rittenberg reported Washington State's Human Resource Services department decided Rolovich was entitled to a religious exemption on Oct. 6. 

However, the athletic department objected to that on Oct. 13, and university spokesperson Phil Weiler explained an employee's supervisor has the right to decide whether the school will provide accommodations for a request that is approved.

The athletic department explained to Human Resource Services that Rolovich first attempted to seek a medical exemption before deciding to go down the religious path. 

Chun also argued the coach "had been vocal and consistent in his opinions and skepticisms about the COVID-19 virus and the full nature of the public health emergency. He has continuously been critical of the role of the government and communicated a multitude of baseless theories with respect to vaccination."

Rolovich's attorney, Brian Fahling, told ESPN Rolovich "never considered applying for a medical exemption and the part about him not being able to obtain medical documentation is categorically false."

Rolovich was the head coach of Hawaii from 2016 through 2019 before coming to Washington State. He was 28-27 at his alma mater and 5-6 across the past two seasons with the Cougars.

Washington State played just four games during the shortened 2020 campaign and was 4-3 this year when it decided to move on from Rolovich.           


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