Sports Opinion: College football is evolving past coaches like Nick Rolovich, even if a few are still around
Holland College mandates athletes and coaches get fully vaccinated
On Tuesday afternoon, Holland Hurricane athletics department posted a statement to its Facebook page saying student athletes and coaches must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30. Brittany States, assistant coach for the women's volleyball team, said her players are happy to get vaccinated and play this season. "They think the whole vaccine thing is a great idea and [are] pushing their teammates to do all the same thing. But overall they're super excited to be back and to give their 100 per cent," she said.
Nick Rolovich is only 42 years old, but he’s running out of time. For a college football coach with bad ideas, ham-handed tactics and a sense of self-importance that far exceeds his accomplishments, he’d have to be the greatest thing since Bear Bryant to be worth the trouble.
What Rolovich is — or, at least, the way he’s presented himself publicly over the last 12 months — is a science-denying, player-bullying embarrassment to Washington State University who isn’t merely in over his head running a Power Five program but the kind of coach who will soon be extinct in a new era of player empowerment and social responsibility.
2021 Coaches Survey: FBS coaches anonymously weigh in on NIL, transfer portal, playoff expansion and more
Sporting News polled FBS coaches on all the hot-button topics in college football. Here are their anonymous answers.The COVID-19 pandemic and transfer portal have impacted roster management for the 2021 season and beyond. The 12-team College Football Playoff proposal, a response to the dominance of a handful of schools in the four-team era, shook up the summer. Then Texas and Oklahoma's move to the Southeastern Conference kick-started another potential realignment shuffle.
At this point, the question isn’t whether Washington State has to fire him; it’s how long and at what cost they will allow Rolovich’s self-immolation to continue.
The latest, and potentially most explosive strike against Rolovich’s credibility came in the form of a
The central allegation of the lawsuit is that Rolovich took punitive measures to separate Woods from the team and ultimately forced him out of the program because of his involvement with a group of Pac-12 athletes who were advocating for social and racial justice and threatening to boycott the season if the league did not address their concerns, some of which related to how COVID-19 was being handled within programs.
2021 college football story lines to watch include bevy of new QBs, Alabama's rebuild and 'Super Seniors'
Change is afoot. There's a new playoff format under debate. Several new quarterbacks are set to ascend into stardom. And 'Super Seniors' are here.Full stadiums. Full schedules. One year after battling through the coronavirus pandemic, college football is set to return to normal, to the widespread happiness of coaches, players and fans across the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Much of that story was known last year when Woods went public with a phone call he had recorded between himself and Rolovich, but the lawsuit goes even deeper on the issues at Washington State. Woods, who opted out of the 2020 season due to health concerns, alleges that the program instructed athletes not to discuss positive COVID-19 cases — even within the team.
Woods, who has sickle cell trait and was thus considered more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, said his roommate informed him upon arrival back to campus that he had been exposed two days earlier to someone who had been infected. Woods alleges that by September, 60 members of the team had tested positive for COVID-19.
“These cases occurred during the time that WSU was ordering athletes to conceal the truth or otherwise face retaliation, and to abstain from support of the #WeAreUnited movement that questioned this very activity and demanded change,” the lawsuit states.
Former Baylor basketball star Mark Vital signed to Seattle Seahawks' practice squad
Mark Vital, the 6-5, 250-pound guard who won an NCAA title at Baylor, will get a look at tight end after not playing football since middle school. “I’ve worked out for a couple of teams and they liked the way I looked," Vital recently told KPLCTV.com. "They said I had great hands and I was fast and big. I can do a lot of things that can help teams. It’s a learning experience because it’s something different.” © Robert Scheer, IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports Baylor guard Mark Vital, right, blocks a shot by Gonzaga's Corey Kispert during the men's 2021 NCAA Tournament championship game April 5 in Indianapolis.
To be clear, Woods’ lawsuit only tells one side of the story. Washington State, which declined to comment on Wednesday, will have the opportunity at some point to present its own case.
But the recorded phone call in which Rolovich told Woods there would be consequences if he was part of the advocacy group paints an unmistakable picture of a control freak coach who uses threats to secure conformity and submission. And given Rolovich’s public track record on COVID-19, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if his program had a lax attitude toward curbing the number of infections.
It’s not a coincidence that the best coaches in the country, whether it’s Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Ryan Day or Brian Kelly, have aggressively promoted vaccination and gotten all but a handful of their players to take it. Not only is that the right thing to do given their responsibility to look out for their players’ health, it’s also a competitive advantage.
Meanwhile, Washington State is stuck with a coachhas turned him into a spectacle of ignorance and mocked the efforts of the people he works for.
Abby De La Rosa Says Pregnancy Was Something She and Nick Cannon 'Were Manifesting' Before Twins
Nick Cannon and Abby De La Rosa welcomed twin boys Zion Mixolydian and Zillion Heir on June 14 Gallery: ‘Welcome to Plathville’: Get to Know the Plath Family (US Weekly) De La Rosa wrote in the caption of her post: "When friends turn into family ✨." Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday. During the Q&A, De La Rosa also said that she'd like to have more children in the future "if God permits.
It was bad enough that Rolovich was barred from attending Pac-12 Media Days in person alongside his 11 colleagues because he's the only head coach in the league who was unvaccinated. But his response when the state of Washington decided that all university system students and employees must be vaccinated was arguably worse.
Every time Rolovich has been asked about the policy, his only comment is that he’s “gonna follow the mandate.” That could mean he’s going to get the vaccine — which, if that were the case, he could just say it in plain English and make the issue go away. But it could also mean he’s shopping for some doctor or religious person to help him concoct a case to get an exemption.
Rolovich clearly doesn’t want us to know for sure, which lends itself to the more cynical explanation. Or maybe he’s just being stubborn, a $3 million per year child who’d rather sulk himself to sleep at the dinner table than eat his green beans.
Either way, Rolovich has made himself the story going into the season, which isn’t a comfortable place to be for a guy whose record at the school is 1-3. Kirk Schulz, the Washington State president and a chemical engineer, can’t be thrilled that his university is now synonymous with an anti-vaxxer dolt.
But the double-whammy of COVID-19 and the empowerment of college athletes through social justice initiatives and new economic rights has put more scrutiny than ever on how coaches treat their players and what core values are important in their programs.
College football winners and losers: Texas, Alabama notch statement wins; Oklahoma disappoints
The 2021 college football season is already at top speed after Week 1 slate full of implications for the College Football Playoff and national title.The 2021 college football season is already at top speed after a Week 1 slate full of implications for the College Football Playoff and the national championship.
This is an era of empathy over intimidation, facts over propaganda, inspiring players to buy in rather than forcing conformity. Coaches who understand that are thriving despite the challenges of the last couple years. Coaches who don’t get caught on taped phone calls trying to bully their players into capitulation.
Washington State may not have realized it when they hired Rolovich, who did some nice work in relative obscurity at Hawaii, but now must certainly understand that his ideas and his methods are out of step with what is required of major college head coaches in 2021.
Rolovich may be young by age, but guys like him are yesterday’s news. Until Washington State cuts the cord, though, he’s going to be their everyday problem.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
College football Week 2 overreactions: Oregon a lock for the playoff, Michigan is a Big Ten contender .
It was another eventful college football weekend. It's important to not put too much stock into the results. Here are five overreactions from Week 2.That's a dangerous proposition when there are 11 more weeks and the unpredictable nature of the sport has already been on full display this season. Almost half of the preseason Top 25 in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll has already lost a game. There are more to come.