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Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich will not be attending next Tuesday’s Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles because he is not vaccinated for COVID-19, he announced on social media.
"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 posted on Twitter. “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."
The curious statement comes at a time when most powers that be in the sport are doing their best to convince all participants to take the vaccine to reduce the possibility of another season marred by disruptions and cancellations due to positive tests. The subject of vaccination among the Cougars’ players is likely to be addressed by reporters despite Rolovich’s stated intent not to comment further on his own decision.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said at 2021 SEC Media Days on Monday that six of the 14 football teams in the conference have reached the 80% COVID-19 vaccination threshold. Sankey also said that forfeits could be a possibility if teams do not have an enough healthy players.
"Your team needs to be healthy to compete," Sankey said. "If not, that game won't be rescheduled. And thus, to dispose of the game, the forfeit word comes up at this point."
In his first appearance in front of media at Wednesday's Atlantic Coast Conference Kickoff, newly appointed ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said the conference will encourage, not mandate, COVID-19 vaccinations entering the 2021 football season.
“I believe vaccines are critical ... in eliminating the COVID-19 virus and its variants, but I also deeply respect that getting vaccinated is a personal choice," Phillips said.
According to most healthcare providers, the vaccine is safe for most eligible adults except those who could experience severe allergic reactions or a small percentage of people with compromised immune systems.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich to miss Pac-12 media day