michigan state suspends mel tucker without pay amid sexual harassment allegations

Michigan State suspended football coach Mel Tucker Sunday amid an investigation after he was accused of sexually harassing a rape survivor last year.

Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller made the announcement following conflicting reports Tucker was going to be fired and/or suspended. He added that Tucker was suspended without pay.

Tucker has been the head coach of the Spartans since 2020 and signed a 10-year, $95 million contract extension in November 2021.

The allegations against Tucker surfaced earlier in the day in a USA Today report. According to ESPN, he was under investigation over the allegations.


Michigan State coach Mel Tucker walks the sideline during the second half of a game against Richmond Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Michigan State secondary coach Harlon Barnett will serve as the interim head coach. Former coach Mark Dantonio is returning as an associate head coach. 

Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault prevention advocate who was gang raped by four college football players in 1998, filed the complaint against Tucker and alleged the coach had asked whether she would date him if he weren’t already married and masturbated without her consent during a phone call, according to USA Today.

Tracy talked to the Michigan State football team in August 2021 and April 2022 about preventing sexual violence and misconduct and was named an honorary captain for the team’s spring football game that April. She said afterward that Tucker had called her multiple times after the visit and even brought up meeting him alone, according to USA Today.

Tracy said she filed a complaint with the university’s Title IX office in December after a phone call in which Tucker allegedly made sexual comments and masturbated, according to the report. Tucker reportedly provided a conflicting statement to the Title IX investigator. He claimed they had consensual “phone sex.”


Mel Tucker vs Richmond

Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker congratulates his team as players come off the field during a game against the Richmond Spiders Sept. 9, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. (Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” Tucker wrote to the Title IX investigator in March, according to USA Today. “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 told the outlet, “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”

Michigan State hired an outside Title IX attorney to investigate. An attorney wrapped up the investigation in July, and a hearing on whether Tucker violated any school rules is scheduled for October 5-6.

Michigan State at Media Days

Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans speaks at Big Ten football media days at Lucas Oil Stadium July 26, 2023, in Indianapolis. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)


A rep for Tucker didn’t immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *