An attorney for former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich announced on Wednesday that the coach plans to take legal action against the school.
Rolovich was fired for cause on Monday after a religious accommodation request wasn’t granted for his decision to not take the COVID-19 vaccine. The firing occurred because of a state deadline that essentially declared that all state employees needed to be vaccinated by Oct. 18.
In the release, Rolovich’s lawyer, Brian Fahling, calls the termination “unjust and unlawful.” In the release, 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 comment.
The release doesn’t specify what specific damages Rolovich will be seeking nor what exactly the legal case will entail.
Rolovich had three years and approximately $9 million remaining on his contract when Washington State terminated him. He was fired for cause, along with four on-field assistant coaches, which means that the university does not plan to pay Rolovich any of the money remaining on his contract. (He’d have been owed $3.6 million if fired without cause.)
The statement mentions Rolovich’s “sincerely held religious beliefs” and claims Washington State, without offering specifics, “indicated” that if Rolovich had been granted a religious exemption that “no accommodation would have been made.”
It also says, without offering specifics, that Chun “had already determined that Coach Rolovich would be fired” since “at least early April.”
“Chun’s animus towards Coach Rolovich’s sincerely held religious beliefs, and Chun’s dishonesty at the expense of Coach Rolovich during the past year is damning and will be thoroughly detailed in litigation,” according to Fahling.
The news release signals the start of the litigation portion of Rolovich’s dismissal. And it targets both the university and Chun, claiming that Chun arranged a “‘secret’ donor trip” that “he had Rolovich attend” during the height of the pandemic in July 2020. It says the trip shows the “university’s deceitfulness about being unable to accommodate Coach Rolovich even if his religious exemption request had been granted.”
“It is a tragic and damning commentary on our culture, and more specifically, on Chun, that Coach Rolovich has been derided, demonized, and ultimately fired from his job, merely for being devout in his Catholic faith,” the release said.