Former WSU head football coach files lawsuit against the school

Rolovich was fired for refusing to get Covid-19 Vaccine in 2021

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COLE QUINN | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Former head coach Nick Rolovich filed an appeal for his termination.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

On Oct. 18, 2021, then-WSU football head coach Nick Rolovich was fired for failing to get the Covid-19 vaccine and on Nov 13, 2022, Rolovich filed a lawsuit against the University over his firing.

The lawsuit filed is 32 pages and length and contains eight counts, including breach of contract, discrimination against religion, wrongful withholding of wages and violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as well as the First and 14th Amendments, according to ESPN.

In 2021, Rolovich was not the only coach fired over failing to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Four other coaches were also fired for the same reason. Those coaches were Ricky Logo, John Richardson, Craig Stutzmann and Mark Weber, according to King 5. 

When the news broke that the coaches were let go, Pat Chun WSU director of athletics, assured that the focus was less on the coaches and more on the health of the players and other staff members. He said that it was a disheartening day for the program and not a decision they wanted to make.

“Our priority has been and will continue to be the health and well-being of the young men on our team. The leadership on our football team is filled with young men of character, selflessness and resiliency and we are confident these same attributes will help guide this program as we move forward,” Chun said.

The 2022 lawsuit is looking for money for loss of past and future income, liquidated damages from his employment, punitive damages and other costs related to bringing the lawsuit, according to ESPN. 

In a press release on Monday, WSU claimed that the lawsuit is without merit and it will vigorously defend itself against Mr. Rolovich’s claims.

“Washington State University carried out the Governor’s COVID-19 vaccine proclamation for state employees in a fair and lawful manner, including in its evaluation of employee requests for medical or religious exemptions and accommodations. For multiple reasons, Rolovich did not qualify, and the university firmly stands by that decision,” the release said.

WSU offices and Rolovich could not be reached for any further comment.