Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller told suspended football coach Mel Tucker on Monday that he would be fired without compensation for misconduct involving activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy.
“The notice gives Tucker seven calendar days to respond and present reasons to me and the interim president why he should not be terminated for cause,” Haller said in a statement sent by the school.
Tucker is in the third year of a 10-year, $95 million contract and if he is fired for cause, the school would not have to pay him the remainder of his contract.
Haller said the decision does not affect the ongoing investigation into Tracy’s sexual harassment allegations, which is being handled by the school’s civil rights office.
Tracy said Tucker sexually harassed her during a phone call in April 2022. Eight months later, Tracy filed a complaint with the school’s Title IX office and the investigation concluded in July. A hearing is scheduled for the week of Oct. 5 to determine whether Tucker violated the school’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy and a decision could take up to 60 days.
Michigan State isn’t waiting that long to act.
Tucker, 51, who said he was separated from his wife and had two children, said the allegations against him were “completely false.” Tucker insisted that the intimate phone call he had with Tracy was consensual and outside the scope of Title IX and school policy.
The school said “unprofessional behavior and failure to uphold the core values of the department and university” was why Tucker was suspended last week.
Tracy is known for her work with college teams, raising awareness about sexual violence among athletes. Michigan State paid him $10,000 to share his story with the football team.
The Spartans (2-1) were defeated 41-7 by No. 8 Washington on Saturday in Harlon Barnett’s debut as interim coach. Michigan State hosts Maryland (3-0) on Saturday.
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