Washington State coach Nick Rolovich says the school's administration respects his decision not to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and that he intends to follow all policies "for the unvaccinated."
Rolovich on Tuesday spoke at Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles from Pullman, Washington, via Zoom, since the event required all coaches to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The second-year coach said about 75% of Washington State's roster has been fully vaccinated or soon will be, and he praised both the state and the university for their efforts in getting residents and students vaccinated.
"I'm not against vaccinations, and I wholeheartedly support those who choose to get vaccinated, including our players," Rolovich said. "I urge everyone to consider being vaccinated."
Rolovich, 42, reiterated that the reasons for his vaccination decision are personal and will not be shared publicly. Washington State has a vaccination mandate for all employees, but also policies for employees who are not vaccinated. Rolovich said he will adhere "to all policies that are implemented."
"They respect my decision," Rolovich said of Washington State officials. "I don't mean to cause any heartache to this university or to this athletic department or this state. ... We do have an open line of communication."
New Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff said vaccination decisions are personal, and the league is not mandating them. The Pac-12 has yet to determine how a COVID-19 outbreak on teams will impact scheduled games and whether forfeits are an option.
Rolovich admitted that he worried his decision could create a distraction for the team, but that so far players have remained on track preparing for the season. Running back Max Borghi and linebacker Jahad Woods represented Washington State on Tuesday in Los Angeles.