WSU coach’s odds of getting vax exemption don’t look good

WSU football coach Nick Rolovich could lose his job if he doesn’t comply with the vaccine mandate applicable to all state employees.

Rolovich, a Catholic, has applied for a religious exemption, presumably on the grounds that fetal tissue was used in vaccine testing (although not in the vaccines themselves). The Catholic Church opposes abortion.

However, the Pope has urged Catholics, and people in general, to get vaccinated against Covid-19 (see story here), which seriously undercuts any church-based claim, and turns Rolovich’s exemption request into one based on personal or political philosophy. Those aren’t approved grounds for exemption.

Religious exemptions are hard to come by. As of early September, the state received 3,891 requests for religious exemptions and approved 7 of them, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review (see story here), citing a Seattle Times story. In other words, his odds were slim at best, and without the support of his church, they’re most likely none.

A question the exemption form asks is he’s gotten other vaccinations. If he has (and who hasn’t?), his objection to this vaccination is dead in the water.

He doesn’t have peer support, either. Rolovich is the only major-school college football coach in America who isn’t vaccinated. It’s one thing to get an exemption when other people are getting it. But it becomes much harder when you’re asking to be treated differently than everyone else.

Nor does it help his case that he’s aligning himself with anti-vaxxers, a group that has fallen into disrepute and is deemed a threat to society. No matter how sincere and heartfelt his personal beliefs, Rolovich will be seen as an anti-vaxxer.

And even if granted an exemption, for him to keep his job, workarounds would have to be possible. In his position, which involves a lot of public contact, they’re probably not.

It looks like there will be a job opening in Pullman for a football coach soon. The current coach’s last day may be October 18.

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  1. Mark Adams #

    This could be sweet. The states highest paid employee tells the Gov where to stick it. His contract runs through 2024 at three million a year. Fire the man and you got a law suit that some attorney in Spokake or Pullman will take up and a whole lot of WSU alumni pissed off. Especially if Pullman wins their next game. Hey this guy could end up running for governor over this.

  2. Roger Rabbit #

    His contract entitles WSU to fire him for cause, and he doesn’t get to define what “cause” is. Insubordination or disobedience of employer policies normally falls in that category, so I wouldn’t bet on him winning that case, but you can be sure no lawyer will try to defend him on the basis of “sticking it to the governor.” You and I think alike in one respect, though. I’ve already drafted an article, to be posted the day he’s fired, about Rolovich running for governor. Trying to parlay fake martyrdom into a political career is an obvious next move. If he keeps his job by complying, or WSU shrinks from firing him, then I’ll have to write a different article.

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