Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker investigated for sexual harassment, report says

Mel Tucker
Posted at 8:33 AM, Sep 10, 2023

Michigan State University head football coach Mel Tucker is being investigated for allegations of sexual harassment, according to a report published overnight by USA Today.

According to the report, the accuser is Brenda Tracy, who is a rape survivor who works to educate athletes about sexual assault and harassment.

USA Today reports that a Title IX investigation is happening into a phone call on April 28, 2022, where Tracy alleges Tucker made sexual comments about her and then masturbated on the phone without her consent.

“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,” Tracy said to USA Today. “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”

In a statement to the Title IX investigator, obtained by USA Today, Tucker said he did masturbate on the call but then said he and Tracy had consensual "phone sex."

According to USA Today, Tucker wrote in a letter to the Title IX investigator, "“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me. 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.”

Tucker is one of the highest-paid football coaches in college football, and signed a 10-year, $95 million contract with guaranteed money in 2021. He is owed the money even if fired for poor performance, but reports say the only way he wouldn't get the money is if he was convicted or a crime or engaged in conduct "in the University's reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt, or ridicule upon the University."

According to USA Today, the Title IX investigation was completed in July. The university reportedly hired Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, who is from Ann Arbor and specializes in Title IX investigations.

The report said a Title IX hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5-6 when Michigan State football has a bye week.

USA Today reports Tracy had previously visited the university twice – once in August 2021 and again in April 2022 – to speak to the team about sexual misconduct.

This report comes just days after survivors of Dr. Larry Nasser asked the university's board of trustees to release thousands of documents about the scandal.

Nassar, a former doctor at the university and a doctor for USA Gymnastics, was convicted of sexually assaulting hundreds of girls and women. He was sentenced up to 175 years in prison.