On Saturday, the Washington State Cougars won their third consecutive college football game, knocking off the Stanford Cardinal by a 34-31 margin in a Pac-12 clash. Following the contest, Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich was doused in Gatorade by a group of players and, with no additional context, it was easy to see a celebratory atmosphere in Pullman. However, that victory came only two days prior to a looming deadline for Rolovich and, on Monday, word broke that the 42-year-old would be fired for cause after failing to meet the state of Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.
Nick Rolovich has been terminated by Washington State, per a university source.
Terminated for cause, along with the other unvaccinated WSU assistants.
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) October 18, 2021
Rolovich is being informed he’s been terminated for cause
— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) October 18, 2021
Rolovich filed a religious exemption request but, as of his most recent media availability, there was no update on the status of that inquiry. With that as the backdrop, Monday was the deadline for compliance for all employees at colleges and universities. Over the summer, Rolovich indicated that he would comply, although he used vague language, but he later noted that he chose to apply for an exemption, rather than become vaccinated.
Dating back to Pac-12 Media Day, Rolovich’s situation has been national and regional news. He participated in that event only on a virtual basis, later revealing in a statement that he was not vaccinated, saying “I have elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons which will remain private” and declining further comment.
In addition to Rolovich’s termination, he is reportedly joined by multiple assistant coaches, though nothing is official on which assistants, or how many, have been fired at this juncture. On the football side, Washington State is 4-3 overall and 3-2 in Pac-12 play, competing for the Pac-12 North division title. It remains to be seen as to how the program will approach the rest of the season from a coaching standpoint, and it is also possible that this saga could continue should Rolovich elect to challenge his termination.