Saturday, word started to trickle out that Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker was under investigation over sexual harassment complaints. Now, details about the allegations are surfacing and they’re pretty disgusting.
According to Kenny Jacoby at USA Today, Tucker has been accused of harassing Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault survivor who has dedicated her life to educating athletes about sexual violence and its impact.
Per Jacoby, Tracy began visiting Michigan State two years ago when she and Tucker developed a professional relationship around her advocacy efforts. Tucker invited Tracy to campus three times, twice to speak with MSU players and staff, and once to be named honorary captain for the spring football game.
However, in April 2022, Tracy alleges that Tucker “made sexual comments about her and masturbated” during a phone call. After that, she filed a complaint with Michigan State’s Title IX office, which began an investigation that remains open.
“The idea that someone could know me and say they understand my trauma but then re-inflict that trauma on me is so disgusting to me, it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” she told USA Today. “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”
According to statements that Tucker made to the investigator, he admitted to masturbating during the call but says that Tracy “mischaracterized” what was a consensual experience.
“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” Tucker wrote in a March 22 letter to the investigator. “I am not proud of my judgment and I am having difficulty forgiving myself for getting into this situation, but I did not engage in misconduct by any definition.”
Per Jacoby, Michigan State hired an outside attorney to investigate the complaint and she finished that in July. A formal hearing to determine whether or not Tucker violated the school’s policy on sexual harassment is scheduled for early October.
Tucker signed a lucrative $95 million contract in 2021, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in college football. His contract includes a clause that allows for him to be fired with cause “if the coach engaged in any conduct which constitutes moral turpitude or, which in the university’s reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual harassment or sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.