Michigan State University has told football coach Mel Tucker that he will be fired without compensation for misconduct involving activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy.
“I, with the support of the administration and board, have provided Mel Tucker with written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause,” Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said. “This notification process is required as part of his existing contract. 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.”
Tucker is in the third year of a $95m, 10-year contract and if he is fired for cause, the school would not have to pay him the remaining amount on his deal.
Haller said the decision does not affect the ongoing investigation into Tracy’s allegations of sexual harassment, which is being handled by the school’s office for civil rights.
Tracy said Tucker sexually harassed her during a phone call in April 2022. Eight months later, Tracy filed a complaint with the school’s Title IX office and the investigation was completed in July. A hearing is scheduled for October to determine if Tucker violated the school’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy and a ruling could take up to 60 days.
The 51-year-old Tucker, who said he is estranged from his wife and has two children, said the allegations against him are “completely false.” Tucker insisted that the intimate phone call he had with Tracy was consensual and outside the scope of both Title IX and school policy.
The school has said “unprofessional behavior and not living up to the core values of the department and university” was the reason Tucker was suspended last week.
Tracy is known for her work with college teams, educating athletes about sexual violence. Michigan State paid her $10,000 to share her story with the football team.
Michigan State has an ugly history of sexual misconduct in recent years. None more devastating than the the case it enabled with disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar. After a female Michigan State graduate filed a complaint about Nassar’s abuse in 2014, a school investigation found he didn’t violate school policy.
Nassar went on to shatter more lives before being given an effective life sentence for his crimes.