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Michigan State University released a statement on Monday, Sept. 18, saying it intends to terminate the contract of football coach Mel Tucker for cause following a sexual harassment allegation.
Tucker is accused of sexually harassing activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy during a phone call last year.
According to the report, Tracy became friends with Tucker over her advocacy work, but the relationship took a turn in April 2022 when he allegedly masturbated during a phone call.
Less than 24 hours after the allegation was made public in a USA Today report, MSU announced on Sunday, Sept. 10, that Tucker was suspended.
In the statement featuring overseer overtones, athletic director Alan Haller says Tucker has seven calendar days to respond “and present reasons to me and the interim president as to why he should not be terminated.”
“This action does not conclude the ongoing Office for Civil Rights case; that rigorous process will continue,” Haller said.
Mel Tucker maintains he did nothing wrong
In a statement last week, Tucker said the allegation was “completely false.”
MSU Athletics sent a letter to the third-year coach and said the contract could be terminated early if the coach “engages in any conduct which constitutes moral turpitude or which, in the university’s reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule upon the university.”
If fired, the university would not have to pay Mel Tucker what’s remaining of his historic $95 million, 10-year contract.
He admitted to having a “late-night intimate conversation” with Tracy but claims it was a mutual and “private event between two adults living at opposite ends of the country.”
Tucker also claimed he and his wife were estranged for a period of time, according to CBS News.
However, MSU lashed at Tucker: “Your comments about the vendor’s ‘a**,’ admitted to flirtation, and act of masturbating on the phone with the vendor, while married, amount to moral turpitude.”
Court to determine if Tucker violated MSU’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy.
In response to Tucker, Tracy accused him of “delaying and trying to stop the investigative process since the beginning.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Tracy’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, said her client’s name was leaked to the media by an “outside party,” and she had no intention of releasing her identity.
A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5-6 to determine if Tucker violated MSU’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy.
Read the full report at CBS News.