Washington State coach Nick Rolovich can't travel to Pac-12 media day since he's unvaccinated

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At least one Pac-12 college football coach won't be at media day because he won't get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Washington State coach Nick Rolovich said Wednesday that he wouldn't be at the July 27 Pac-12 media day because the Pac-12 is requiring everyone who attends to be vaccinated. Rolovich said that he would participate in the media day remotely and said that he would not reveal his reasons for not being vaccinated. 

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"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 our program," Rolovich wrote. "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."

While Rolovich said in his statement that he won't talk further about his choice, you can bet that he'll field questions about it anyway. 

Rolovich is entering his second year at Washington State. The Cougars had two games canceled during the abbreviated 2020 season because of COVID-19. The Apple Cup vs. Washington and a game against Cal were declared no contests because of COVID-19 cases.

His Washington State predecessor Mike Leach refused to say whether he has been vaccinated at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. The Mississippi State coach known for opining on any and all subjects clearly did not want to talk about vaccines when he was asked vaccine-related questions.

"If I was or wasn't, I wouldn't share it with you," Leach told the reporter who had asked him about being vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines will help prevent game cancellations

It's an indisputable fact that widespread vaccinations among players and coaches will help prevent games from being canceled in 2021. Conference commissioners across the country have encouraged vaccinations to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to keep teams and players healthy. Alabama coach Nick Saban said that almost 90% of his team was vaccinated and he has been one of the more outspoken coaches about the effectiveness of vaccines. 

What Saban said Wednesday morning about players getting vaccinated applies to coaches too. 

"But players have to understand that you are putting your teammates in a circumstance and situation," Saban said. "We can control what you do in our building. We cannot control what you do on campus and when you go around town, who you’re around, who you’re associated with, and what you bring into our building."

"So every player has a personal decision to make to evaluate the risk of COVID relative to vaccine and then they have a competitive decision to make on how it impacts their ability to play in games, because with the vaccine you probably have a better chance. Without it … a bigger chance that something could happen that may keep you from being on the field, which doesn’t enhance your personal development."

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