Auburn head football coach Bryan Harsin has declined to disclose whether he will vaccinate his team for the upcoming season. The deadline is looming and many are saying that coaches should be held accountable for their decisions, especially when it comes to protecting student-athletes from illness.
Following Auburn University’s announcement last week that all university personnel must be completely vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8, head football coach Bryan Harsin on Monday refused to say whether he had gotten or intended to get the vaccination.
Harsin has declined to share his vaccination status on many occasions, dating back to SEC media days in July, and has said that it is a profoundly personal issue for everyone. His remarks Monday, however, were his first since the institution revealed on Oct. 22 that it had changed its vaccination policy to require all staff to be fully vaccinated or risk dismissal.
“I’m aware of the new policy and recognize the need to ask the question and understand it, but it doesn’t alter the fact that I’m not going to disclose any individual’s or anybody else’s choice or status on the vaccination, including my own,” Harsin, who is in his first season as Auburn’s coach, said.
“I believe I’ve made it plain from the start that this isn’t something I’m going to speak about or discuss, and I’m not going down that path. That doesn’t seem to be the case right now.”
On Saturday, No. 18 Auburn takes on No. 10 Ole Miss at Jordan-Hare Stadium, where the Tigers have won three of their last four games.
“We’re concentrating on Ole Miss. We’re concentrating on the tasks at hand in order to prepare for this week “Harsin said. “… We’ve had those discussions [regarding the vaccination], but it doesn’t affect anything I’ve already said.”
According to Auburn’s new policy, an employee may be legally entitled to a medical or religious exemption from having to take the vaccination in certain situations. Employees must get the second dosage of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccinations by Nov. 24 or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Nov. 24 to meet the Dec. 8 deadline for showing evidence of immunization.
In August, Harsin tested positive for COVID-19 and said that he was not “anti-vaccine” and that any story to the contrary was “misinformed.”
In August, Harsin said, “I totally support anyone’s option to vaccinate, and I also support putting credible data-driven information into the hands of individuals who still have reservations about the vaccine.” “Anyone who has visited our facilities is aware of this.”
After refusing to comply with a law requiring all state workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Washington State dismissed head football coach Nick Rolovich and four assistant coaches last week.
Rolovich is suing Washington State for wrongful firing, claiming that athletic director Pat Chun engaged in “discriminatory and vengeful conduct.”
Some college football coaches, such as Nick Saban of Alabama, have made public service advertisements pushing supporters to be vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the Mississippi Board of Trustees for Institutions of Higher Learning agreed Monday to compel anyone employed by colleges and institutions that receive federal funds to get vaccinated by December 8.
Coach Mike Leach of Mississippi State, who has previously refused to divulge his vaccination status, had little interest in commenting on Monday’s decision.
During his weekly media appearance, Leach remarked, “The entire COVID vaccine issue bounces all over the place.” “Commenting on each hit in a tennis match would be like commenting on each hit in a tennis match, therefore I don’t have any.”