Kassidy Woods: WSU's Nick Rolovich Told Me to Clear Out Locker over Pac-12 Group

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2020

Washington State wide receiver Davontavean Martin (1) celebrates his touchdown with teammates Brandon Gray (83), Kassidy Woods (17) and Frederick Mauigoa (69) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Northern Colorado in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

Washington State wide receiver Kassidy Woods told Josh Peter of USA Today that he believes Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich dismissed him from the team Saturday because he is a part of the group of Pac-12 athletes threatening to sit out the 2020 season if their health, safety and social justice demands aren't met.

Woods said he was told to clean out his locker and was kicked off the team's group chat after telling Rolovich he was part of that group of athletes.

"I can't even be around my teammates, so that lets me know I'm dismissed from the team," he said.

Jonah Javad of WFAA tweeted out audio of a phone conversation between Woods and Rolovich:

Jonah Javad @JonahJavad

AUDIO: Wash State football coach Nick Rolovich's phone call with @Kassidy7Woods. Rolovich: "Are you still involved with the PAC-12 unity movement?" Woods: "Yes sir." Rolovich: "That's going to be an issue if you align with them as far as future stuff." @wfaa #WeAreUnited #WSU https://t.co/eFd9PhIHtg

Theo Lawson of the Spokesman Review offered more details on the exchange between Woods and Rolovich:

Theo Lawson @TheoLawson_SR

I've spoken to Kassidy Woods on the phone about his decision to opt out. #WSU coach Nick Rolovich said, according to Woods, (paraphrased) "There’s one way we’ll handle it if it’s COVID-related, then there’s one way we’re going to handle it if it’s joining this group."

Theo Lawson @TheoLawson_SR

According to Woods, Rolovich asked the player if he'd be joining the @Pac12 unity group. Woods said he would be. Rolovich said (paraphrased), "that's going to be an issue if you align with them as far as future stuff, right?"

Theo Lawson @TheoLawson_SR

During our phone call, Kassidy Woods' father, John, paraphrased what #WSU coach Nick Rolovich told his son. https://t.co/thwp2ZRUQt

Per Peter, Rolovich accepted when Woods said he would be sitting out for medical concerns but that being part of the Pac-12 #WeAreUnited players coalition could affect his future with the program. 

Sophomore defensive back Pat Nunn and junior defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs also said their future with the team was unknown after revealing they were a part of the Pac-12 athletes coalition. 

"It's a muddled mess right now," Hobbs told Peter. "I think no one knows exactly how to handle it, so it's still something that's in the air."

Peter also reported that junior defensive end Lamonte McDougle "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."

Washington State has not formally commented on the matter and referred Peter to the Pac-12's statement on Sunday:

"We support our student-athletes using their voice, and have regular communications with our student-athletes at many different levels on a range of topics. As we have clearly stated with respect to our fall competition plans, we are, and always will be, directed by medical experts, with the health, safety and well being of our student athletes, coaches and staff always the first priority."

The Pac-12 athletes issued a number of demands in a post on the Players' Tribune article, including:

  • "Allow option not to play during the pandemic without losing athletics eligibility or spot on our team's roster."
  • "Form a permanent civic-engagement task force made up of our leaders, experts of our choice, and university and conference administrators to address outstanding issues such as racial injustice in college sports and in society."
  • "Medical insurance selected by players for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID-19 illness, to cover six years after college athletics eligibility ends."
  • "The freedom to secure representation, receive basic necessities from any third party, and earn money for use of our name, image, and likeness rights."
  • "Distribute 50 percent of each sport's total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports."