‘I find it disappointing’: Former WSU football player turned doctor reacts to Rolovich decision

PULLMAN, Wash. — Reaction has been pouring in since Washington State Head Football Coach Nick Rolovich announced his decision not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Cougars only played four games in the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It appears the Cougs head coach is taking his chances.

Rolovich is the only head coach in the PAC-12 not to take the vaccine. This news comes as the university is set to require everyone on campus to have the shot.

RELATED: WSU to require students, employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

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With Pac-12 media day next week, we learned Rolovich will not be making the trip down to California with two of his players following his decision to not get vaccinated, and ever since then, reaction has been pouring from all over the country.

“Really, someone who’s there to lead a lot of young men and be a representative of the university. So yeah, bottom line is I find it disappointing,” said Dr. Serign Marong.

Marong is a family physician and has been on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, running vaccine clinics the past few months. He also happens to be a former linebacker, playing for the Cougars in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He says if he were to have Rolovich as a patient, he would talk about the science and benefits of the shot.

“Are there some people who have adverse reactions to it?—Yes, but there’s people who have adverse reactions to every single vaccine that’s out there. We know that the benefits to that individual and the benefits to the community outweighs those risks,” he said.

While Rolovich says he’s not getting the vaccine, other coaches around the country are leaning into it. Alabama Head Coach and seven time national champion Nick Saban even created a PSA in the state to promote the shot ahead of the season.

“College football fans and players both want full stadiums this Fall. Let’s make sure we can safely make this happen by getting vaccinated. Please get your COVID-19 vaccine,” said Saban in the PSA.

Closer to home, Cougars defensive coordinator Jake Dickert posted a picture online of him receiving his shot in May. Dr. Marong views a potential outbreak of COVID-19 on the team as a unwanted distraction.

“It’s just going to be a lot of non-football-related issues that might come from this. To me this just seems simple—well, let’s alleviate that, let’s stop that before that can happen and just by getting vaccinated,” he said.

In addition to all students on campus, WSU is requiring all employees and volunteers on campus to be vaccinated this fall. Exemptions will be allowed for medical, religious or personal reason.

PAST COVERAGE: ‘WSU has an obligation to serve the public’: WSU President reaffirms vaccine policy as coach Rolovich opts out of shot