Less than a week before Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles, Washington State coach Nick Rolovich announced via Twitter that he would not be attending the event in person because of the league's mandate that all attendees be vaccinated.
Rolovich is not vaccinated, and will participate in the event remotely.
“I have elected not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for reasons which will remain private," Rolovich's statement read. "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.”
The Pac-12 has required media members attending the event to provide proof of vaccination or, for those unvaccinated or declining to disclose their vaccination status, proof of a negative PCR or an antigen test within 72 hours of the event. Pac-12 media day is scheduled to be held on July 27.
Rolovich, 42, is entering his second season at Washington State after previously serving as the head coach at Hawaii from 2016-19. Last year, the Cougars went 1–3 in the pandemic-shortened season.
Rolovich's announcement comes as other Power 5 conferences have used their media days as a platform to promote vaccination. Commissioners from the SEC and Big 12 both stressed how an unvaccinated population could put the upcoming season at risk.
“Frankly, anyone not getting vaccinated is taking unnecessary and unwarranted risks,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “It's shortsighted to not get vaccinated. If indeed the delta variant is as infectious as it is reported to be, not getting vaccinated is rolling the dice. As student athletes, you're also rolling the dice on whether you're going to participate.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey emphasized that the COVID-19 vaccines were not a political tool, but rather an asset to public health.
“With six weeks to go before kickoff, now is the time to seek that full vaccination,” Sankey said. “And we know nothing is perfect, but the availability and the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines are an important and incredible product of science. It's not a political football.”
More College Football Coverage: