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Michigan State University announces plans to fire Mel Tucker following sexual harassment allegations


Michigan State University plans to fire head football coach Mel Tucker after the coach was accused of sexual harassment, the university announced Monday.

Earlier in September, the university suspended Tucker without pay after USA Today reported he was under investigation for alleged sexual harassment. The Michigan State University notice gives the coach seven days to provide reasons why he should not be fired.

“With the support of the administration and the Board of Trustees, I have provided Mel Tucker with written notice of my intent to terminate his contract for cause,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics of the school, Alan Haller, in a press release. “This notification process is required as part of its existing contract. The notice gives Tucker seven calendar days to respond and present reasons to me and the Acting President why he should not be terminated for cause.

CNN has reached out to Tucker’s agent for comment.

The investigation into the coach’s conduct began in December, Haller said at a news conference earlier this month.

The university released a copy of the notice it sent to Tucker, as well as a copy of his employment contract signed in 2021 – which it claims he violated and admitted to violating during investigation. The notice says Tucker “made unwanted sexual advances toward” an activist hired by the university to provide education on sexual misconduct to the school’s football team. Tucker “masturbated during a phone call without her consent,” the document states.

“While the formal grievance process continues, the undisputed facts described above provide multiple grounds for termination under the early termination provision of the Agreement,” the notice to Tucker said.

The notice claims Tucker admitted to making comments about the activist’s body, making flirtatious comments, masturbating and making “sexually explicit comments” about him and her during a phone call with the ‘activist.

The coach’s behavior “constitutes a significant breach” of his duties, “demonstrates ‘conduct that constitutes moral turpitude'” and “has caused a lack of respect, contempt or public ridicule on the University”, as much reasons for his dismissal. according to the document.

“The unprofessional and unethical behavior is particularly egregious given that the vendor in question was hired by the university for the sole purpose of educating student-athletes and preventing inappropriate sexual behavior,” the statement said. document.

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. She was raped by four college football players in 1998, according to her website.

Tracy reported her call with Tucker to the university’s Title IX office, USA Today reported. “The idea that someone could know me and say they understand my trauma and then re-inflict that trauma on me is so disgusting to me that it’s hard for me to understand that,” Tracy told USA Today. “It’s like he’s looking for me just to betray me.”

In a statement obtained by CNN last week, Tucker called Tracy’s allegations “completely false” and said the investigation into her conduct had “not been fair or impartial.” The coach, who is married, said in his statements that the sexual phone call with Tracy was mutual. “This was an entirely mutual and private event between two adults living on opposite ends of the country,” he said.

CNN has not independently verified the details of the report.

The school is investigating the incident in accordance with its “Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct” policy and Title IX.

Tracy’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, said no police report had been filed. She released a statement on behalf of her client last week.

“Brenda Tracy did not intend to publicly disclose her identity,” the statement said. “She was and continues to be committed to respecting and concluding MSU’s internal investigative process. She respected the process and chose not to speak to the media to preserve the integrity of the process.

“Once the investigation process was complete, we would have determined what additional steps we needed to take, if any. Instead, her identity was revealed without her knowledge or consent, warranting express measures to protect her. His choice to allow this process to take place in private has been taken away from him.

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 an excellent 11-2 and he signed a massive 10-year, $95 million contract. this made him one of the highest paid coaches in all of college football. Last year, however, the team finished with a disappointing 5-7 record, including blowout losses to rivals Michigan and Ohio State.