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Washington State’s Rolovich says he will follow state mandate, but keeps mum on vaccination

Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich wears a mask as he talks with reporters after the first day of NCAA college football practice, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.  (Associated Press)
By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN – Although Nick Rolovich wouldn’t say whether he will receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the Washington State football coach told reporters Thursday that he intends to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s new state mandate.

Inslee announced Wednesday that higher education employees, including athletics staffers, have until Oct. 18 to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. Exemptions are limited to medical and religious reasons.

Rolovich was vague the next morning when asked if he will receive a vaccine as a result of the proclamation.

“I plan on following (Inslee’s) mandate, for sure,” he said.

Rolovich did not elaborate on his decision, including whether he might instead seek a religious or medical exemption.

Later in the post-practice media session at Gesa Field, the second-year coach kept mum when asked whether he was waiting for the FDA to approve a vaccine before getting the shot.

“I’m just gonna follow the mandate,” Rolovich said.

He added of his assistant coaches, a few of whom wear masks at practices: “I believe they all plan on following the mandate. It’s what the deal is.”

Face coverings have not been required at practices for vaccinated coaches throughout camp.

Rolovich said he and school administrators did not discuss Inslee’s mandate on Wednesday, but WSU’s head coaches gathered for a meeting, during which “(the mandate) got addressed.”

Rolovich stirred controversy July 21 when he announced via Twitter that he had elected to not receive the vaccine “for reasons which will remain private.”