Michigan State Suspending Head Coach Mel Tucker Amid Sexual Harassment Investigation

Michigan State Suspending Head Coach Mel Tucker Amid Sexual Harassment Investigation article feature image

Pictured: Former Michigan State coach Mel Tucker. Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Michigan State Spartans plan to fire head football coach Mel Tucker amid a sexual harassment investigation, sources told the Action Network's Brett McMurphy on Sunday.

Michigan State will wait until the Title IX investigation is complete to make the move official, according to sources. In a 5 p.m. ET press conference on Sunday, Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said Tucker was suspended without pay pending the outcome of that investigation.

Michigan State AD Alan Haller says coach Mel Tucker suspended w/out pay pending outcome of Title IX investigation. “This is just a formality,” source told @ActionNetworkHQ “Mel Tucker has coached his last game at MSU. This is something school legally must proceed w/(regarding…

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 10, 2023

Michigan State will wait until Title IX investigation is completed, to make Tucker's move official, sources said. MSU will claim dismissal w/cause to get out of paying Tucker's $70-plus million buyout. School expected to disclose more information in 5 p.m. news conference. https://t.co/LwcMXKSjaD

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 10, 2023

Michigan State is investigating allegations that Tucker sexually harassed activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy, which USA Today first reported earlier on Sunday.

According to a December complaint filed to Michigan State's Title IX office obtained by USA Today, the offending incident took place in April 2022:

"According to her complaint, Tracy sat frozen for several minutes while Tucker made sexual comments about her and masturbated. His violation, she said, reopened 25-year-old wounds from her rape by four men — two Oregon State University football players, a junior college player and a high school recruit."

Tracy and Tucker had developed a "professional relationship" based on her advocacy following an August 2021 visit by Tracy to Michigan State:

"Tracy left East Lansing feeling she had found a champion in Tucker, she told the investigator. He seemed engaged with her cause, leading his players in signing her pledge to, among other things, obtain “ongoing, affirmative consent” before engaging in sexual acts with another person."

McMurphy reports that secondary coach Harlon Barnett will take over as interim coach for Michigan State, with former coach Mark Dantonio "expected to assist in an undefined role."

This is a developing story.

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