PULLMAN — In less than a week, the Pac-12’s coaches will convene in Hollywood for the conference’s annual Media Day event.
All but one, actually.
Second-year Washington State coach Nick Rolovich won’t be attending Pac-12 Media Day in person this year due to the event’s vaccination requirements, he announced on Twitter Wednesday. According to the conference, Pac-12 Media Day participants must be fully vaccinated in order to attend the single-day event held on July 27 at Hollywood and Highland.
Rolovich has opted not to get a COVID-19 vaccine for what the coach described as personal reasons.
“As the Pac-12 Conference has required that all in-person participants at next week’s Pac-12 Football Media Day be fully vaccinated, I will participate remotely and look forward to talking about our football team and the incredible young men in the program,” Rolovich wrote in a statement. “I have elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons which will remain private. While I have made my own decision, I respect that every individual — including our coaches, staff and student-athletes — can make his or her own decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. I will not comment further on my decision.”
According to multiple reports, Rolovich is the only Pac-12 head coach who won’t be in attendance at Media Day. Two WSU players, running back Max Borghi and linebacker Jahad Woods, will represent the Cougars in Hollywood next week.
It’s unclear what percentage of WSU’s football team is vaccinated, but in mid-April, once most Washingtonians were eligible to receive the vaccine, Rolovich told reporters “I know we’re talking about making it available for our guys.”
The coach also said, “I don’t know the details on that, but that’s a little bit of a personal decision. I’m not going to get into that too much with these guys.”
The Spokesman-Review was unable to reach WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun for immediate comment on Rolovich’s decision not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, which precludes him from attending his first in-person Media Day as the Cougars’ coach. The conference held last year’s Pac-12 Media Day via Zoom in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.
WSU is requiring vaccination for students who plan to be on campus this fall unless they’re able to receive an exemption for medical, religious or personal reasons.
Armani Marsh, a nickel defensive back for the Cougars and Spokane native, weighed in on Rolovich’s decision not to receive a vaccine, tweeting “No need to explain coach. @NickRolovich #LetsRoll #CougsVsEverybody”
The coach, who spent four years at the University of Hawaii before accepting a job in the Pac-12 last January, also received an endorsement from ex-WSU quarterback Jason Gesser, a native of Honolulu and graduate of Saint Louis High.
“Well said coach,” Gesser wrote on Twitter.