An attorney for former Washington state football coach Nick Rolovich announced Wednesday that the coach plans to take legal action against the school.
Rolovich was fired for cause on Monday after a request for religious accommodation was not granted for his decision not to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The layoff came due to a deadline set by the state which essentially stated that all state employees must be vaccinated by October 18.
In the statement, Rolovich’s lawyer Brian Fahling called the dismissal “unfair and illegal”. In the statement, Fahling accuses Washington state athletic director Pat Chun of “discriminatory and vindictive behavior [that] has caused immeasurable harm to Coach Rolovich and his family. Chun declined to comment.
The statement does not specify what specific damages Rolovich will claim or what exactly the court case will entail.
Rolovich was three years old and about $ 9 million left on his contract when Washington State terminated it. He was fired for cause, along with four assistant coaches on the pitch, meaning the university has no plans to pay Rolovich the money left on his contract. (He would have been owed $ 3.6 million if he had been fired without cause.)
The statement mentions Rolovich’s “sincere religious beliefs” and asserts that Washington State, without providing details, “indicated” that if Rolovich had obtained a religious exemption, “no accommodation would have been made.”
He also indicates, without providing details, that Chun “had already determined that coach Rolovich would be fired” since “at least the beginning of April”.
“Chun’s animosity towards Coach Rolovich’s sincere religious beliefs and Chun’s dishonesty at the expense of Coach Rolovich over the past year is overwhelming and will be thoroughly detailed in litigation,” according to Fahling.
The press release signals the start of the contentious part of Rolovich’s dismissal. And he’s targeting both the university and Chun, claiming that Chun organized a â’secret’ donor tripâ that he âhad Rolovich attendâ at the height of the pandemic in July 2020. He says the trip shows “The university’s deception of being unable to accommodate Coach Rolovich even though his request for a religious exemption had been granted.
“It is a tragic and damning comment on our culture, and more specifically on Chun, that Coach Rolovich was derided, demonized and ultimately fired from his job, simply for being pious in his Catholic faith,” said the press release.