Washington State Coach to Sue School After Being Fired over Vaccine Refusal

Nick Rolovich
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich reportedly plans to sue the university after he was terminated for not taking any of the coronavirus vaccines.

Rolovich and four of his assistants were released for cause by the university for refusing to obey the school’s vaccine mandate. Some had applied, but none of the five had been awarded a religious exemption from the rule.

According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, coach Rolovich’s attorney, Brian Fahling, sent a letter to the school insisting that the firing was “unjust and unlawful.”

Washington State coach Nick Rolovich watches during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Stanford, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

© Provided by Associated Press Washington State coach Nick Rolovich watches during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Stanford, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Rittenberg added that the letter “came after Coach Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption from the vaccine was denied by the university. The institution also indicated that even if the exemption had been granted, no accommodation would have been made.”

The letter added that Rolovich “will be taking legal action against Washington State University, and all parties responsible for his illegal termination.”

Rittenberg’s letter also specifically mentioned WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun, who Rolovich said has “animus” towards him.

“Since at least early April, it became clear that Chun had already determined that Coach Rolovich would be fired,” the letter states. “Chun’s animus towards Coach Rolovich’s sincerely held religious beliefs, and Chun’s dishonesty at the expense of Coach Rolovich during the past year is damning and will be thoroughly detailed in litigation. Chun’s discriminatory and vindictive behavior have caused immeasurable harm to Coach Rolovich and his family.”

Rolovich had been signaling his refusal to knuckle under to the school’s mandates for months. In July, he was reduced to attending Pac-12 Media days via video uplink instead of in person because he had not taken a vaccine.

Still, at one point, Rolovich was heard saying he was considering taking a vaccine, though he never confirmed any timeline for the action. Ultimately, though, Rolovich applied for a religious exemption but was denied.

Khan

(MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

“It is a tragic and damning commentary on our culture, and more specifically, on Chun, that Coach Rolovich has been derided, demonized and ultimately fired from his job, merely for being devout in his Catholic faith,” Rolovich’s attorney concluded.

It is unclear if the school expects Rolovich to forfeit the $3 million he would have been paid over the remaining three years in his contract with the school.

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