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Boston College’s COVID Vaccine Mandate Likely To Result In Athletic Transfers Out

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Boston College Commencement Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Back in April, Boston College announced that all students would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to attend the university in the fall. Because everyone is reasonable and understands we’re still in a global health emergency, this was universally regarded as a smart and reasonable requirement necessary to attend school in a campus setting where all parties involved would be living and working in close proximity to each other.

Just kidding! The folks that you would expect to get mad about this certainly did so. There wasn’t too much of an uproar at first, though, probably because those unwilling to get the vaccine thought that they were deserving of special treatment and surely the mandate wouldn’t apply to them.

Now that we’re deep into the summer with the fall semester rapidly approaching, however, the university is holding firm on the requirement. Exemption requests are being denied, and some parents who are Mad Online are now starting to reach out to the likes of the Boston Herald to throw a fit about how their children of extraordinary privilege are being “oppressed” by such a mandate.

Earlier this week, the Herald posted this story about parents “rallying together” to try and get BC to change their minds based on a Catholic exemption. The next day, on the same website and not on The Onion, the Herald’s Howie Carr posted this absolutely hilarious article calling BC “Woke U” and taking the university to task for what he called — I swear to God — its “Deep State fascism.” If you can stand to read his One Sentence Per Paragraph plea for clicks and want to contribute to his paycheck, it’s certainly worth a read, but we won’t go into it here.

We also won’t go into the counterpoints pointed out in the Herald’s first story about how the freaking Pope calls getting the vaccine “a moral obligation” for all Catholics. Nor about how requiring universal vaccination will almost certainly eliminate any chance of a viral breakout on campus. Nor about how the university also requires all students to be vaccinated against five other illnesses prior to attending school and curiously nobody has the same freakout (n.b. it’s not curious at all). We won't go into all that.

What we will go into, however, is the realization that BC’s vaccine mandate — and certainly others across the country, you would think — could cause some athletes to transfer out of the school. The Herald article mentions it briefly, and there’s no doubt that at least one athlete or their family was one of the entitled several to have reached out to the site in a huff as their options to try and get special treatment from the school run out.

Sources close to BC Interruption have indeed confirmed that there are Boston College athletes who have claimed they “100% will not get the shot” and are already in the transfer portal. It remains to be seen, however, where those players might end up... if they can find a landing spot. This year’s exceptional circumstances have already made it an incredibly difficult time to be a transferring athlete:

  • The NCAA’s decision to not have last year count toward players’ eligibility means that there is a massive glut of names attempting to transfer to extend their careers as it is.
  • Just about all of those names have been in talks with schools for months trying to find a place to play already, putting players who have only recently entered the portal at an additional disadvantage.
  • Many schools have opted to keep several of their own 5th year players, often at the expense of freshmen who had already committed to a program and will now be looking for alternative schools at which to matriculate.
  • And of course, there’s the fact that many (probably most) schools will require the vaccine to attend — not just BC — further limiting a player’s destination options.

You can probably tell based on the tone of this article that sympathy is pretty limited for those players who choose to leave Boston College (or any school) instead of vaccinating to contribute to the protection of everyone in the BC community. Obviously it’s preferable that nobody gives up a Boston College degree over this to go somewhere else, but if they’re that adamant about it, there’s really nothing to be said that will keep them here. Will they be that committed to this that they might be willing to skip a year playing if they can’t find a destination that doesn’t mandate vaccination, offers their sport, and has room on the roster? That remains to be seen. For those that do find a roster spot — congratulations to you; best of luck in your future elsewhere.

It would be a shame, but the school’s logical decision to mandate universal vaccination is obviously bigger than any one player. We know for sure that there are BC athletes who have recently entered their sports’ transfer portals whose reasons for leaving are exclusively a refusal to get the COVID vaccine. But for now, it’s a waiting game to see if anyone actually walks out the door.