EAST LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – Michigan State University released a statement on Monday, Sept. 18, saying it intends to terminate the contract of football coach Mel Tucker for cause following a sexual harassment allegation.
In the statement, athletic director Alan Haller says Tucker has seven calendar days to respond “and present reasons to me and the interim president as to why he should not be terminated.”
“This action does not conclude the ongoing Office for Civil Rights case; that rigorous process will continue,” Haller said.
MSU Athletics sent a letter to the third-year coach and said the contract could be terminated early if the coach “engages in any conduct which constitutes moral turpitude or which, in the university’s reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule upon the university.”
If fired, the university would not have to pay Tucker what’s remaining of his $95 million, 10-year contract.
Read the full letter from MSU below:
Tucker is accused of sexually harassing activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy during a phone call last year.
According to the report, Tracy became friends with Tucker over her advocacy work, but the relationship took a turn in April 2022 when he allegedly masturbated during the phone call.
Less than 24 hours after the allegation was made public in a USA Today report, MSU announced on Sunday, Sept. 10, that.
A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5-6 to determine if Tucker violated MSU’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy.
In a statement last week, TuckerHe admitted to having a “late-night intimate conversation” with Tracy but claims it was a mutual and “private event between two adults living at opposite ends of the country.”
Tucker also claimed he and his wife were estranged for a period of time.
However, MSU said in the letter to Tucker: “Your comments about the vendor’s ‘a**,’ admitted to flirtation, and act of masturbating on the phone with the vendor, while married, amount to moral turpitude.”
In response to Tucker, Tracy accused him of “delaying and trying to stop the investigative process since the beginning.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Tracy’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski,by an “outside party,” and she had no intention of releasing her identity.
MSU says it plans to investigatethat led to her identity being revealed.
Students react to MSU’s intent to fire Tucker
CBS News Detroit spoke with a few students Monday after news that the university intends to fire Tucker. Some say they expected more from the coach.
“Considering we have so many programs in place to get students on the right track and educated on these things, you’d think that somebody that the university put so much money into would be on board,” said senior Lauren Krill.
Krill, a peer educator who teaches freshmen and sophomores about sexual misconduct, says she was shocked to learn about the allegation.
“I just knew he was suspended. I’m glad they are taking action and taking it seriously. I feel like they go do some damage control if you’ve known for that long,” she said.
Some students, like senior Jimmy King, worry that the allegation could have a long-term impact on the university.
“It’s a negative thing, and it’s going to last them for a long time. So I feel like it’s a lose-lose situation,” King said.
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