Mel Tucker to Be Fired for Cause as Michigan State HC amid Harassment Investigation

Doric SamSeptember 18, 2023

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 09: Mel Tucker head coach of the Michigan State Spartans looks on before a game against the Richmond Spiders at Spartan Stadium on September 09, 2023 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Mel Tucker's time as head football coach at Michigan State is coming to an end.

Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller announced that Tucker has been given "written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause." Tucker remains the subject of a sexual harassment investigation, and his firing "does not conclude" the matter.

Pete Thamel @PeteThamel

Michigan State has announced it has begun the process of firing coach Mel Tucker for cause. <a href="https://t.co/FTYpTMvDhW">pic.twitter.com/FTYpTMvDhW</a>

Tucker was initially suspended without pay by the university on Sept. 10. A report from Kenny Jacoby of USA Today revealed that an investigation was launched following a complaint from prominent sexual assault prevention advocate Brenda Tracy from December that accused Tucker of sending her gifts, making inappropriate comments and masturbating during a phone call without her consent.

"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 Jacoby. "It's like he sought me out just to betray me."

Tucker denied the allegations, saying in a letter to an investigator in March that his relationship with Tracy was "mutually consensual and intimate." He also admitted to masturbating during the phone call, but claimed the act was consensual.

"Ms. Tracy's distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me," Tucker wrote in the letter. "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 made Tucker one of the highest-paid coaches in all of college sports when it signed him to a 10-year, $95 million contract in November 2021. He is now set to lose the over $70 million remaining on his deal.

The Spartans fell to No. 8 Washington 41-7 on Saturday for their first loss of the 2023 season. Michigan State will look to bounce back at home against Maryland this week.