Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller has informed suspended football coach Mel Tucker that he is being fired because of his alleged sexual abuse of a sexual assault advocate and survivors.
Michigan State University plans to fire head football coach Mel Tucker after the coach was accused of sexual harassment, the university announced Monday.
In early September, the university suspended Tucker without pay It was reported by USA Today was investigated for alleged sexual harassment. Notice Michigan State University gives the coach seven days to state reasons why he should not be terminated.
“With the support of the administration and the board of directors, I have provided Mel Tucker with a written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause,” said school vice president and director of athletics Alan Haller. stated in a press release. “This notification process is required as part of his existing contract. The notice gives Tucker seven calendar days to respond to me and the interim president and provide reasons why he should not be terminated for any reason.”
CNN has reached out to Tucker’s agent for comment.
An investigation into the coach’s conduct began in December, Haller v press conference earlier this month.
The university released a copy of the notice they sent to Tucker, along with a copy of his employment contract signed in 2021 — which they say he violated and admitted to violating during the investigation. The notice says Tucker “made unsolicited sexual advances toward” an activist hired by the university to provide sexual abuse education to the school’s football team. Tucker “masturbated during a phone call without her consent,” the document says.
“While the formal grievance process continues, the undisputed facts described above provide several grounds for termination under the provisions of the early termination agreement,” the notice to Tucker said.
The report alleges that Tucker admitted to commenting on the activist’s body, flirting, masturbating and making “sexually explicit comments” about himself and her while on the phone with the activist.
The coach’s conduct “constitutes a material breach” of his duties, “demonstrates ‘conduct that constitutes moral turpitude'” and “brought ‘public disrespect, contempt or ridicule to the university,’ all of which are grounds for his dismissal, according to the document.
“The unprofessional and unethical conduct is particularly egregious given that the vendor in question was closed by the university solely for the purpose of educating student-athletes and preventing incidents of sexual misconduct,” the document reads.
USA Today identified the activist as Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and advocate who runs Set the Expectation, which provides education to athletes about sexual violence. In 1998, she was raped by four college football players. according to her website.
Tracy reported her phone call with Tucker to the university’s Title IX office, USA Today reported. “The idea that someone could recognize me and say they understand my trauma, but then traumatize me again, is so disgusting to me that it’s hard for me to even wrap my head around it,” Tracy told USA Today. “It’s like he sought me out only to betray me.
In a statement obtained by CNN last week, Tucker called Tracy’s allegations “absolutely false” and said the investigation into his conduct “was not fair or unbiased.” The coach, who is married, said in his statements that the sexual call with Tracy was mutual. “It was a completely mutual, private event between two adults living on opposite sides of the country,” he said.
CNN has not independently verified the details of the report.
The school is conducting an investigation of the incident in accordance with its Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX.
Tracy’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, said no police report was filed. She issued statement on behalf of your client last week.
“Brenda Tracy had no intention of publicly revealing her identity,” the statement said. “She was and continues to be committed to following and closing MSU’s internal investigative process. She respected the process and chose not to go to the media to preserve the integrity of the process.
“Once the investigative process is complete, we would decide what, if any, further steps to take. Instead, her identity was made public without her knowledge or consent, warranting express actions to protect her. Her decision to allow this process to take place in private has been withdrawn.’
Tucker, a longtime college and NFL coach for the past two decades, became Michigan State’s head coach in 2020. In his second season, the team went 11-2 and signed a massive 10-year, $95 million contract this made him one of the highest paid coaches in all of college football. However, the team went a disappointing 5-7 last year, including losses to rivals Michigan and Ohio State.