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Washington State Terminates Highest-Paid Football Coach, Four Assistants Over Vaccine Mandates Refusal

Washington State University Fired Football Coach Nick Rolovich And Four Of His Assistants (Photo: Britannica)

The vaccination mandate has been fully implemented across several states. Washington State University (WSU) just fired its highest-paid employee, a football coach, and four of his assistants for failing to adhere to the mandate, Associated Press reported. Vaccine mandates have been imposed by both the institution and the state of Washington. 

42-year-old Nick Rolovich was sacked on Monday and he was the first major college coach to be fired due to his vaccination status. All state employees in Washington must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or they will be dismissed from employment. The state, healthcare, and school personnel in Washington had until Monday to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine.

Unvaccinated Washington State Coach Nick Rolovich In A Football Field Wearing Mask (Photo: Young Kwak/AP)

He Was The Highest-Paid State Employee

Mr. Rolovich, who earns $3.1 million a year, had requested a religious exemption from the mandate. However, WSU’s Director of Athletics stated that the exemption had been denied. Mr. Rolovich was fired after a three-month battle with Washington Democratic Governor Jay Inslee. Under a contract that extends through 2025, he was the highest-paid state employee, earning more than $3 million per year.

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According to Pat Chun, Washington State athletic director, their number one concern has always been and will continue to be the team’s health and well-being of the athletes. Approximately 90 percent of WSU workers and 97 percent of students have been vaccinated against the flu, according to the institution. Rolovich’s termination was a depressing day for the football team, Chun added.

His Fired Assistant Coaches

For refusing vaccination, Rolovich’s assistant coaches were also fired. They are John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann, Ricky Logo, and Mark Weber. According to Chun, a team losing its head coach and so multiple assistants in the middle of a season is unprecedented.

Governor Jay Inslee declared in August that all public employees and healthcare personnel would need to receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to keep their positions. They had until Monday to get vaccinated unless they had a medical or religious exemption. However, Rolovich had stated that he would not be vaccinated as a personal choice, according to BBC News.

In 2019, college football generated approximately $19 billion in revenue. The institution is not obliged to honor the remainder of Rolovich’s contract, however, lawsuits are inevitable. Washington State’s athletic department is currently in a $30 million shortfall.

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