Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker expressed his disappointment but lack of surprise upon learning that the university intends to fire him next week. Tucker, who is currently preparing to face a sexual harassment lawsuit, referred to the entire process as a “miscarriage of justice” in a statement released through his attorney. He accused the university of disregarding his rights and truth, and disclosed that he had requested medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act due to a serious health condition. However, he did not provide specific details about his health.
Tucker highlighted that he does not believe he will be terminated for something he admitted was fully consensual. He acknowledged having a relationship with another adult who presented at MSU at his request. Tucker emphasized that this was a private relationship, and suggested that there may be other motives at play. Currently suspended without pay, Tucker has an $80 million contract with MSU and plans to terminate it for cause.
The allegations of sexual harassment against Tucker came to light when activist Brenda Tracy accused him of making sexual comments and masturbating without her consent during a phone call in April 2022. Initially, Tracy did not plan to make the case public before MSU’s October hearing on whether Tucker violated the school’s policy against sexual harassment and exploitation. However, due to an external source leaking Tracy’s identity, it was revealed earlier than anticipated. In response, the university hired the law firm Jones Day to investigate the allegations.
Tucker claimed that confidential information in the case has been compromised following the release of Tracy’s identity. He previously requested an investigation into the possibility of leaked details, but the university did not approve his request. The university stated that university leaders were unaware of the allegations’ specifics until USA TODAY’s article due to firewalls in place between the two universities. While Tucker denied sexually harassing Tracy, he admitted to masturbating and making sexual comments during the call. Tucker maintains that Tracy consented to all aspects of their relationship.
Haller, the Athletic Director, claims to have had a consensual romantic relationship with Tracy, which she denies. Tucker reiterated this defense and criticized Haller for his involvement with a university vendor hired to provide sexual misconduct training, which resulted in Haller’s dismissal. Tucker now has until September 26th to provide reasons why he should not be fired for cause.