Michigan State University To Fire Head Football Coach Mel Tucker Over Sexual Harassment Allegations
Michigan State University (MSU) will fire head football coach Mel Tucker amid accusations of sexual harassment, the school announced on September 18.
Tucker, who has been suspended without pay from all team activities since September 10, was informed of the university’s plans in a written statement. He will have seven days to present MSU with substantial reasons why he should retain his position.
“I, with the support of administration and board, have provided Mel Tucker with written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause,” the school’s Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller said. “This notification process is required as part of his existing contract. The notice gives Tucker seven calendar days to respond and present reasons to me and the interim president why he should not be terminated for cause.”
Michigan State officials claimed Tucker admitted to actions that violated his contract when he allegedly made “unwelcome sexual advances” toward Brenda Tracy, a white woman. The mother and nurse was reportedly gang-raped in 1998 by four male college students. She now advocates and speaks up for sexual abuse survivors.
Though publicly maintaining that their interaction was “completely consensual,” Tucker’s actions are believed by MSU to be “a material breach” of his duties as head coach while demonstrating ‘conduct which constitutes moral turpitude'” and “has brought ‘public disrespect, contempt, or ridicule upon the University.”
In early 2021, Tracy was brought in by Tucker to educate players on sexual misconduct, including non-physical interactions. Tracy claims their relationship soured after Tucker made sexually explicit comments about her body and masturbated during a phone call in 2022. Tucker claims that Tracy initiated their intimate interactions.
Tucker’s hiring in 2021 marked only the second time a Black man has held the coveted head coaching position for MSU. His $95 million deal made him the highest-paid Black college football coach in history.