Mel Tucker Suspended By Michigan State Amid A Sexual Harassment Investigation

UPDATE: Michigan State’s president and AD confirmed Tucker had been suspended without pay, pending the final outcome of the sexual harassment investigation, which is expected to conclude in October.

Original Story: Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker has reportedly been suspended two weeks into his third season in East Lansing amid an investigation by the school into allegations he sexually harassed Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor who runs a non-profit Tucker worked with to educate athletes about sexual violence.

A report from Kenny Jacoby of USA Today detailed the allegations, with the bombshell being Tucker admitted to investigators he masturbated during a phone call he had with Tracy. Tucker alleged it was consensual phone sex, but Tracy denied that being the case and detailed her horror at the experience, saying it only served to reopen the trauma of her past. The full report from Jacoby details the working relationship between Tucker and Tracy, how things arrived at the phone call at the center of the school’s investigation, and how Tucker and his attorney tried to stop the investigation.

On Sunday, the school’s president and athletic director called a 5 p.m. press conference. Brett McMurphy initially reported they will announce that Tucker has been fired, but Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press reports he will be suspended with pay pending the final outcome of the investigation, which has hearings set for October, and, per Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, he has not been fired (at least yet).

Tucker signed a massive 10-year, $95 million fully guaranteed contract after going 11-2 in his first season, but it does include language that terminates that guarantee if he is fired for cause — which this would certainly fall under. The university will face questions about how long it took to arrive at this decision and the timing of it all, only moving to discipline him after the news became public

There likely aren’t many good answers, as there rarely are in a situation like this, but it’s clear the investigation by Michigan State yielded enough concern about Tucker’s actions and the veracity of the allegations to remove him from the program until the full process has been completed.