Washington State DA says Kassidy Woods removal from team activities unrelated to unit group Pac-12

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Washington State athletic director Pat Chun said wide receiver Kassidy Woods’ removal from team activities stemmed from Woods deciding to withdraw from the season for health reasons, rather than its implication in the movement of unity of the Pac-12 players.Chun told ESPN that Woods sent him a text message on Saturday indicating his decision to step down due to health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Woods also mentioned his involvement in the Pac-12 unit movement and asked to speak with Chun.

“Her health and safety is our No. 1 priority,” Chun said Monday evening. “For a sports director, everything else after that is a moot point. I’m not telling you. At this point it comes down to 100%, ‘We support and honor your decision, we respect your decision.’ ”

Woods told ESPN earlier on Monday that he believes he can step aside and continue to participate in team practices and other activities, but not travel and play games during the season. The red-shirted sophomore was surprised when Washington state coach Nick Rolovich told him he could no longer be involved in the team’s activities.

Washington state said two soccer players opted out of the season for health reasons. They will remain scholarship recipients this year.

“If we had gone for the practice, we would never have come back to campus at all,” Woods said. “They try to misinterpret our words and the point of withdrawing us and why we are withdrawing. I was just saying I won’t play in any of the games. [Rolovich] told me I couldn’t be with the team at all, he cleared my locker, then took me out of the team group chat. His actions showed that I was cut off from the team.

“That’s what protocol is when you cut someone off the team. ”

Woods added that Washington state had never clearly stated its withdrawal policy, saying, “We are the only Pac-12 school to do this. ”

Chun clarified on Monday the school’s position on medical disclaimers and explained why those who chose to opt out would not be allowed to participate in team activities.

“If you have health and safety concerns, de-densification is one of the main principles for moving forward with COVID, so removing a body makes a difference, and the responsibility of having someone in the room. bodybuilding that expressed health and safety concerns are as real as it gets for an athletic department, ”Chun said. “… For the health and safety of this student-athlete, we had to remove him from the locker room, from all team-related activities, because he has health and safety issues related to COVID-19. We cannot put it on congregational premises. ”

Woods called on Saturday afternoon to let Rolovich know he was retiring from the 2020 season because he had sickle cell disease and would be at increased risk from the pandemic. According to a recording of the call obtained by the Dallas Morning News and other media outlets, Rolovich told Woods he had no problem with the reasoning, but then asked if Woods would be part of the unity movement, a group of Pac-12 players threatening to turn off this season if the league doesn’t meet their demands. Woods has said he will support the movement.

“It’s going to be a problem if you align with them when it comes to future things,” Rolovich said, according to the Morning News. “The COVID thing is one thing. But joining this group… it’s going to be different. If you say, ‘I’m opting out’ because of COVID and health and safety, ‘I’m fine. But this group is going to change the way things go in the future for everyone, at least in our school. ”

Rolovich, in a statement Monday night, said he wanted to identify the reasoning behind Woods’ decision to step down.

“I wanted to clarify with Kassidy that his decision was based on health and safety and reaffirm our policy on COVID-19 and insurance of his purse,” Rolovich’s statement read in part. “Without knowing the group’s concerns, I regret that my words of warning to Kassidy have turned into opposition. I am proud of our players and all Pac-12 student-athletes for using their platform, especially for the topics they are passionate about. . WSU student football athletes who have expressed their support for the #WeAreUnited group will continue to be welcome at all team-related activities, unless they choose to opt out for health reasons and of security. ”

Rolovich also noted that his conversation with Woods took place before the Pac-12 group of players released their statement and claims on Sunday. Woods said he and a teammate started discussing the group with Rolovich several weeks ago.

“Our coach put him in the team group discussion, and he said, ‘Do other players want to talk about it? Let me know, “” Woods said. “He seemed to be pretty much okay with it. We just told him how many people we spoke to on the team that were potentially going to retire and that the Pac-12 athletes were going to retire for health reasons. Because there had been no protocol, fixed measures, to ensure our safety while we were playing. [The conversation] that was two or three weeks ago. He had some knowledge of it. He just didn’t know if we were part of [the movement] or not at that time. ”

Chun said Rolovich tries to be proactive with players without knowing all the details of the campaign.

“Rolo is not the coach who is going to put his head in the sand and wait,” said Chun. “He tries to have honest conversations with his guys. No one had any idea of ​​their concerns or requests until Sunday. ”

Chun said Washington state would honor all scholarships for athletes who choose to opt out of the season specifically because of players’ unity movement and not a specific health issue. He also sent all WSU athletes a message on Monday reiterating the school’s unsubscribe policy.

“This is something that has been expressed to them over and over,” Chun said, “but if a person didn’t really get it, we guess there may be a second, that’s why we publish it. If you have COVID -19 health issues related to attending this year, your scholarship will be honored. We honor your decision by removing you. ”

Woods remains in school in Washington state, but doesn’t expect him or his teammate who also chose not to return to the team.

“It’s been a tough year all around,” Woods said. “It’s crazy how our coaches can just replace us. We haven’t done anything to this program to hurt him at all. We were only a favor to him. … The damage has already been done. We haven’t really thought this far, but we know we won’t be playing another one here. “

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