Michigan State's head coach Mel Tucker signals to players during the first quarter in the game against Akron on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Credit: Lansing State Journal

A Michigan State investigation has determined that former football head coach Mel Tucker sexually harassed a prominent rape survivor.

The university released a 73-page report on Wednesday, in which a university hearing officer determined Tucker sexually harassed and exploited Brenda Tracy by masturbating and making sexual comments without her consent during a phone call in April 2022. The year prior, Tucker had hired Tracy, an activist, to work with the Spartans program.

Additionally, the report states that the 51-year-old Tucker made unwanted sexual advances toward Tracy in the months leading up to the phone call in question and engaged in quid pro quo sexual harassment by ending their business relationship after the call. Tucker has claimed that he and Tracy had been in a romantic relationship and engaged in consensual phone sex.

The report found Tucker’s claims less plausible and supported than Tracy’s.

According to USA Today, the report concludes: “In sum, considering all available evidence, the Resolution Officer finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Respondent subjected Claimant to unwelcome conduct based on sex when he FaceTime video called Claimant without a shirt on; when he attempted to meet up with Claimant alone following the Spring Game; and when he non-consensually masturbated and used graphic, sexual language on a phone call with Claimant.”

Earlier this year, Tracy filed a complaint with Michigan State’s Title IX office regarding Tucker. Last month, the school suspended him before firing him for cause.

Tucker, who has denied the claims against him, did not participate in an Oct. 5 Zoom hearing with the school regarding the matter. Michigan State hired the Cleveland, Ohio, native in 2020 and signed him to a 10-year, $95 million contract as he led the Spartans to an 11-2 record and victory in the Peach Bowl in 2021.

After news of the findings against Tucker were made public on Wednesday, many took to social media to weigh in.

 

[USA Today]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.