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Michigan State begins process to fire coach Mel Tucker for cause

Michigan State has begun the process to terminate football coach Mel Tucker’s contract for cause as he faces allegations he sexually harassed activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy during a phone call last year.

“The University has become aware of various facts that have led to the unfortunate decision to terminate your employment for cause,” the letter sent to Tucker byAlan Haller, the school’s athletic director, reads. “At this point, the University has amassed a body of undisputed evidence of misconduct that warrants termination for cause.”

The 51-year-old coach, in the third year of a 10-year, $95 million deal was suspended on Sept. 9, less than 24 hours after USA Today reported that Tucker masturbated on a phone call with Tracy — with whom he established a relationship through her advocacy work — in April 2022.

“The idea that someone could know me and say they understand my trauma but then re-inflict that trauma on me is so disgusting to me, it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” Tracy told the outlet. “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”

Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans reacts after a play.
Michigan State seeks to fire Mel Tucker for cause.
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Tucker, who is estranged from his wife with whom he shares two children, claimed the encounter was consensual phone sex.

“While I am saddened by Ms. Tracy’s disclosure of the sensitive nature of this call, let me be perfectly clear—it was an entirely mutual, private event between two adults living at opposite ends of the country,” Tucker said last week. “She initiated the discussion that night, sent me a provocative picture of the two of us together, suggested what she may look like without clothes, and never once during the 36 minutes did she object in any manner, much less hang up the phone.”

He also said Tracy never cut ties to the program and claimed she only objected when he postponed a paid presentation and when he “complained to her that she and her assistant were spreading rumors about my marriage.”

Tracy has since accused the school of leaking her name to the media, speaking with USA Today separately to share her story.

MSU has hired a law firm to look into the supposed breach.

By dismissing Tucker for cause, Michigan State would not be responsible for paying the remaining money on his contract.

The Spartans have gone 20-14 under Tucker since he took over in 2020.

Secondary coach Harlon Barnett was named acting head coach with former football coach Mark Dantonio returning to the team as a game-day adviser.

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