Report: Washington State head coach tells WR joining Pac-12 unity group creates 'issue'
New Washington State head coach Nick Rolovich reportedly told wide receiver Kassidy Woods that joining the Pac-12 unity movement would create “an issue” within the program moving forward, according to a report from the Dallas Morning News.
Over the weekend, football players from the Pac-12 threatened to sit out for the 2020 season unless a list of demands was met by the conference. Among those demands, players wanted a revenue split with the conference, continued fight against racial injustice, safe play during the COVID-19 pandemic and long-term healthcare plans for student-athletes.
If demands are not met, the players are threatening to not participate in fall camp or competitions this upcoming season.
Woods, a wide receiver at Washington State, called Rolovich to tell him that he would not play during the 2020 season because he has sickle cell trait, which puts him at advanced risk with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rolovich said he understood Woods’ concern about playing in the pandemic and had no issue with the receiver sitting out. However, when Woods said he would also be supporting the movement, the head coach’s tone appeared to change.
“That’s going to be an issue if you align with them as far as future stuff,” Rolovich said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “The COVID stuff is one thing. But joining this group … it’s going to be different. If you say, ‘I’m opting out ’cause of COVID and health and safety,’ I’m good. But this group is going to change how things go in the future for everybody, at least at our school.”
Woods is still on scholarship and is still on the roster. However, Wazzu made it clear that any player who formally opts out due to the pandemic or other health concerns will not be permitted to participate in team activities.
Last season, Woods caught 6 passes for 58 yards while appearing in 12 games for the Cougars.
According to ESPN, Washington State held a team meeting to address the concerns regarding the unity movement on Sunday night.
“The damage is already done,” Woods told the Dallas Morning News. “Shoot, that’s all I’ve got to say about it. If they had shown me they wanted me to stay, they wouldn’t have done all this. So I’m not the problem here. I didn’t create the problem. They did.”
Washington State is expected to release a statement on Monday.