Despite Previous Report, Mel Tucker Is Suspended Until Investigation Completed, Then Possibly Dismissed For Cause After Hearing

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The future of Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker is now up in the air. After a previous report from Brett McMurphy said he was fired today, the school says Tucker is suspended until the sexual harassment investigation is completed.

Michigan State AD Alan Haller held a brief press conference on Sunday night to tell Spartan nation that Mel Tucker has been suspended without pay, until the Title IV hearing is completed during the week of October 5th. Even though the press conference did not last long, Haller did point out that he felt this was a necessary move for the football program at this time.

Also, in a blast from the past, former Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is returning to East Lansing to help the football program during this time. Dantonio’s title will be associate head coach, while Harlon Barnett will serve as the interim head coach.

Mel Tucker’s Contract Situation At Michigan State

In regards to Tucker’s contract, he was due to be paid $95 million over ten years, after signing an extension in 2021. When hired in East Lansing, Tucker’s contract was slated for $5.5 million per year, until that lucrative extension after his first season.

There is a stipulation for where Tucker could be fired for cause “if the coach engaged in any conduct which constitutes moral turpitude or, which in the university’s reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule.”

Tucker would not receive any of his buyout if fired for cause.

Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Tucker

Over the course of her relationship with Michigan State, Mel Tucker invited Tracy to campus three different times over an eight month period. 

But, during a phone call on April 28, 2022, this relationship changed. According to a report she filed with the Michigan State Title IX office in December, ‘Tucker made sexual comments about her and masturbated’ while the pair were on a phone call together. Over the course of the investigation, Mel Tucker ‘acknowledged masturbating on the call but said Tracy grossly mischaracterize the episode’, according to the report. Mel Tucker claims that it was consensual “phone sex.”

Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans looks on before the game against the Indiana Hoosiers. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Mel Tucker gave a statement to the school during the investigation, saying he did not engage in any misconduct.

“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” Tucker wrote in a March 22 letter to the 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.”

It’s clear that the university does not have faith in Mel Tucker right now, but are waiting for due-process to play out.

Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.

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