Nick Rolovich, the former Washington State head football coach, is suing Governor Jay Inslee and the university after being let go for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Filed in Whitman County Superior Court, this legal action names the college, Patrick Chun (Athletic Director), and Inslee as defendants. Rolovich was denied his religious exemption request and still refused to get the shot.
Prior to his termination, his contract had $3 million/year and 3 more years left on it – making him one of highest paid public employees in the state at the time.
Washington State officials released a withering statement Monday, claiming the lawsuit was “totally baseless.” The university alleged that they had faithfully followed the Governor’s COVID-19 vaccination proclamation for state employees and evaluated any employee requests for medical or religious exemptions with fairness and legality – including Rolovich, who did not qualify for exemption. However, he still submitted a letter to Chun in November of 2021 appealing his termination, which was denied a month later.
The suit brought forth claims such as breach of contract, discrimination, wrongful withholding of wages plus violations of the Civil Rights Act, together with First and 14th Amendments of the U.S Constitution – without specifying an exact figure in terms of monetary damages sought.
In 2020, Nick Rolovich was hired from Hawaii to take the helm of Washington State’s football team after Mike Leach left for Mississippi State. Unfortunately, during his two-season tenure with the Cougars, he only managed a 5-6 record before being fired midseason. Consequently, assistant coach Jake Dickert took over and steered them to a bowl game; subsequently earning him the permanent head coaching spot.
Beyond collegiate sports teams, though, there is another type of fight going on – one that isn’t so readily visible. As vaccine mandates become increasingly prevalent across states and countries alike, individuals and organizations have begun challenging these requirements in court due to personal beliefs or religious reasons. Despite all this legal pushback, however, courts tend towards upholding government regulations concerning public health as paramount – making such challenges difficult at best, especially since no one can predict how any particular case will turn out once it enters the courtroom.