What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on at Washington State?
A Washington State football player said his status on the team was threatened by the head coach because the player is part of a group of Pac-12 Conference athletes threatening to sit out this season unless demands for “fair treatment’’ are met.
… Woods said Rolovich told him his scholarship will be honored, and the Pac-12 statement Sunday reiterated that any athlete who decides not to compete this year because of health or safety reasons will have their scholarship protected.
The Pac-12 has guaranteed four-year scholarships since 2015.
The conversation between Woods and his coach took place Saturday, according to Woods, who said he called Rolovich to inform him he had decided against playing this season because of concerns related to COVID-19. Woods said he has sickle cell anemia and is afraid that will put him at greater risk of getting COVID-19, especially if he’s traveling to football games.
After he explained his decision to Rolovich, Woods said, the coach said he could accept that but then asked Woods if he were part of the Pac-12 athletes group. Woods said he acknowledged he was and Rolovich made it clear that remaining aligned with a group of athletes threatening to sit out over issues that include compensation and social justice would jeopardize his future with the team.
Woods told USA TODAY Sports he was ready to sacrifice for the group’s cause.
“Change has to be made,’’ Woods said. “This stuff has been going on for way too long. There’s no greater opportunity than doing it now.”
Lamonte McDougle, a red-shirt junior defensive end, said Rolovich had no objections to McDougle being part of the athletes group after he vowed to play regardless of whether the groups’ demands are met. Based on McDougle’s understanding, he said, no one has officially been kicked off the team.
“Officially” may be doing some heavy lifting there, at least judging from this tweet from Woods’ mom.
Jon Wilner, who does a stellar job covering Pac-12 football makes an excellent point.
Yeesh. It’s already hard enough to recruit to Washington State. Rolovich isn’t making his life easier with comments like that. And it wasn’t even necessary — the kid’s sitting out for health issues, so let him sit.
I expect some sort of awkward explanation is coming, but you know what they say about when you’re explaining.