The Naval Academy has fired an assistant football coach for not following the Naval Academy Athletic Association’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.
Billy Ray Stutzmann, who was in his third season assisting Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, tweeted Monday that he was grateful for his time at Navy, but that he was “relieved of his duties” after not receiving an exemption to the Naval Academy’s COVID-19 policy.
“The Naval Academy Athletic Association policy regarding COVID-19 requires all coaches and staff to be vaccinated against this virus,” Stutzmann’s tweet reads. "Based on my religious convictions, and after much thought and prayer, I am unable to follow the requirements of the Naval Academy's COVID-19 policy, as it has changed these last few months. After applying for a religious exemption and attempting to further negotiate alternative working arrangements, I was ultimately relieved of my duties here at Navy. I continue to stand firm in my conviction of faith, but I understand and respect that each individual and institution has a choice on how they wish to manage these issues. I wish Navy football nothing by the best in the future."
The Associated Press reported in August that, starting in September, the Pentagon is requiring all members of the United States military to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Navy is 0-2 this season, suffering a 49-7 loss to Marshall and a 23-3 loss to Air Force.