It seems some hesitant BYU football coaches have started to get vaccinated against COVID-19, ahead of the 2021 football season a month away and with the virus’ Delta variant spreading in Utah.
Position coach Preston Hadley and graduate assistant Kyle Griffitts appeared to get their vaccine shots together on Wednesday and shared their experience on their respective Instagram accounts.
Both men appeared to be hesitant, with each stating it was something “Brother Brigham” made them do. There is currently no vaccination mandate on coaches or players, BYU officials said, although they are encouraged to get it. BYU did recently ask students and staff to submit their vaccination status to help inform policy decisions for the upcoming semester, such as mask requirements.
A BYU spokesperson said the decision may be a result of travel restrictions. Different states, or even cities, have different precautions and protocols in place. Getting the vaccine, while against their personal opinion, could make traveling during the semester easier, the spokesperson said.
Back in mid-June, BYU officials said approximately 25-27% of all BYU student-athletes were vaccinated. An updated number was not available this week.
After the first day of fall camp, coach Kalani Sitake was asked about the vaccination rate of the program. The head coach, who’s entering his sixth year at the helm of BYU football, said he didn’t know the details.
“When I go into the details of it all, I just know that it’s important to educate our players and to work well with our sports medicine department in order to get our guys on the field and keep our community safe,” Sitake said. “That’s what we’re committed to do. A lot of that has to do with education, and letting them know what’s happening daily, in concern with COVID and the Delta variant.”
Sitake also added that the sports medicine department, as well as the athletic department, has been focusing on education. They want to provide their players and staff as much information as possible.
In videos shared on social media, Hadley shook his head as he got his vaccination and Griffitts teased him. Griffitts also wrote “the look of a defeated man” to caption his video.
When it was Griffitts’ turn, Hadley said “my guy’s excited to get his vaccine.” Griffitts responded by lifting his left hand and moved it repeatedly across his neck and shaking his head no.
When Hadley continued saying that the grad assistant would post on social media that he’s fully vaccinated, Griffitts answered with a decisive “hell no.”
When asked about the vaccination rate amongst his staff, Sitake said: “No, I’m not going to share that.”
“I will say the same thing, that coaches need education like the players do — all of us do,” Sitake added.