Michigan State University

Michigan State to terminate Mel Tucker's contract amid harassment investigation

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5-6 to determine if Mel Tucker violated the school’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy

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Michigan State has announced it intends to terminate the contract of head football coach Mel Tucker Jr. for cause, and says that an ongoing sexual harassment investigation will continue.

In a press release, MSU officials said that they will seek to void the remainder of the 10-year, $95 million pact they signed with Tucker in Nov. 2021.

“I, with the support of the administration and board, have provided Mel Tucker with written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause,” AD Alan Haller said in a statement. “This notification process is required as part of his existing contract.”

Here is a copy of that statement released by the university to media on Monday:

According to Haller, Tucker will have seven days to contest the decision. The action also does not end the ongoing investigation into allegations against Tucker, according to the school.

Michigan State was permitted to fire Tucker if he “engages in any conduct which constitutes moral turpitude or which, in the University's sole judgement, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule upon the university,” according to his contract.

The university sent Tucker a letter laying out their reasoning behind the decision:

Tucker was suspended without pay earlier this month after the allegations emerged. Harlon Barnett was named the team’s acting head coach, with Mark Dantonio rejoining the staff on a temporary basis.

Tucker will face a hearing next month over allegations that he sexually harassed activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy during a phone call last year, according to USA Today.

Michigan State hired an outside Title IX attorney to investigate the complaint and the investigation concluded in July, according to the report published Sunday.

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5-6 to determine if Tucker violated the school’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy, USA Today reported.

Tracy became friends with Tucker over her advocacy work, but that relationship took a turn in April 2022 when Tucker masturbated during a phone call with her, according to USA Today.

“The idea that someone could know me and say they understand my trauma but then re-inflict that trauma on me is so disgusting to me, it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” Tracy told the newspaper. “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me."

Tucker acknowledged to investigators last spring that he masturbated during the phone call with Tracy, but he said they had consensual “phone sex."

“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” Tucker wrote in a March 22 letter to the Title IX investigator. “I am not proud of my judgment and I am having difficulty forgiving myself for getting into this situation, but I did not engage in misconduct by any definition.”

Tracy is known for her work with college teams, educating athletes about sexual violence. She has spoken to Michigan State's football team multiple times.

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