Mel Tucker
Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller speaks during a news conference regarding the NCAA college football program in the wake of sexual assault allegations against head coach Mel Tucker, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. (Nick King/Lansing State Journal via AP)

Michigan State set to fire head coach Mel Tucker after sexual harassment allegations

Michigan State announced Monday that they intend to fire head football coach Mel Tucker after accusations of sexual harassment.

What Happened?

An investigation into Tucker began back in December when Brenda Tracy, an advocate for sexual assault survivors filed a complaint against him. As the university began to investigate this situation, they suspended Tucker without pay earlier this month.

Tracy is a rape survivor and activist who often travels to different campuses sharing her story with athletic programs. Tucker invited her to Michigan State two different times last year to speak with players and staff. The situation began after these visits. Tracy claims that he made sexual comments about her while on a phone call last April. She also mentioned that during the call he performed sexual acts on himself.

After a thorough investigation, the university provided Tucker with a written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause on Monday.

The Reaction

“Obviously the for cause part is important,” ESPNs Pete Thamel said, “Mel Tucker has nearly $80 million remaining on his deal. Certainly, the attempt to fire for cause is going to be so Michigan State can escape from that large number. This certainly doesn’t guarantee Mel Tucker and his people will not fire back some counter lawsuit to try to claim that money.”

In the written notice, the university told Tucker that he has seven days to provide them with any evidence that would allow him to keep his job and the remaining $80 million from his contract. If not, the school plans on firing him for cause as soon as Sept. 26.

“The notice provides Tucker with seven calendar days to respond and present reasons to me and the interim president as to why he should not be terminated for cause,” Michigan State vice president and director of athletics Alan Haller said in a news release.

Tucker signed a 10-year, $95 million contract extension with the Spartans back in November 2021. But without evidence from Tucker, he won’t receive any of the remaining money from the contract.

“Essentially this marks the formal beginning of what was long expected after the sexual harassment allegations against Tucker arose within the last 10 days,” Thamel said, “This is the start of the unwinding in the formal firing for cause.”

“The Mel Tucker era in East Lansing is now officially beginning to end,” Thamel said.

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