Recently-fired head coach Nick Rolovich of the Washington State University Cougars has announced he will be filing a lawsuit against the university in response to his termination.
On Wednesday, attorney Brian Fahling announced that coach Rolovich will be filing a lawsuit against the university for illegal termination, partly due to “discriminatory and vindictive behavior” by athletic director Pat Chun. The athletic director had claimed that Rolovich’s termination was on a “for cause” basis, claiming that the former head football coach could not meet the requirements in his contract, and he will not continue to be paid by the school.
Fahling also confirmed to ESPN that Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption from a COVID-19 vaccine based on his “devout” Catholic faith was denied by the university. Both Chun and university president Kirk Schulz did not confirm whether the exemption requests from Rolovich and the other coaches had been denied, saying only that Rolovich’s request for accommodations “could not be met,” based on a blind evaluation process for all exemption requests, involving a two-person panel who does not know each individual applicant’s name or job title before making a final decision.
“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 will be thoroughly detailed in litigation…Chun’s discriminatory and vindictive behavior has caused immeasurable harm to Coach Rolovich and his family. It is a tragic 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,” Fahling’s statement concluded.
Fahling’s statement also went on to say that the school would have refused to make accommodations for Rolovich even if the religious exemption had been granted. Chun and other Washington State officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.