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MSU football coach Mel Tucker suspended amid sexual harassment investigation

In a shocking turn of events, Michigan State University has suspended its head football coach, Mel Tucker, without pay. This decision comes less than 24 hours after a report by USA Today surfaced, alleging that Tucker had been under investigation for alleged sexual harassment.

The suspension was announced by University President Teresa K. Woodruff and Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller, pending the results of an external investigation into these disturbing allegations.

The investigation, which began in December, reached a pivotal point when an investigative report was submitted in July. The formal hearing regarding the allegations is scheduled for the week of October 5, as announced by Haller during a news conference.

Tucker is accused of making sexual comments and engaging in explicit behavior during a phone call with Brenda Tracy, an advocate and rape survivor. Tracy has devoted her life to educating athletes about sexual violence, making these allegations even more impactful.

Having been a coach in both college and the NFL for the past twenty years, Tucker assumed the role of Michigan State’s head coach in 2020. His suspension raises questions about the future of his role as head football coach at Michigan State. Tucker, who signed a lucrative 10-year, $95 million contract, could face termination for cause, which would mean that the university would not be obligated to pay the remaining sum of his contract.

While Tucker’s attorney, Jennifer Belveal, has not provided a comment, Tucker has maintained that the relationship with Tracy was consensual, despite acknowledging that explicit activities took place during their phone call.

“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” wrote Tucker in a 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.”

Michigan State’s decision to suspend Tucker comes on the heels of another football coach finding himself embroiled in scandal. Northwestern fired its longtime coach, Pat Fitzgerald, in July after an investigation revealed hazing within the football program.

As the investigation unfolds, the Michigan State community, as well as the broader college football community, will be closely watching to see how the university responds to these serious allegations and what consequences may await Coach Mel Tucker.


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