MSU officially fires Mel Tucker as head football coach

(Michigan State Athletics)
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 12:12 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan State University (MSU) announced Mel Tucker has been fired as head coach for its football team.

MSU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Alan Haller, with the support of the interim president and the board of trustees, terminated Mel Tucker’s employment contract on Wednesday.

See the termination letter below:

Tuesday marked the final day of Tucker’s contracted seven days to respond to his contract termination from Sept. 18 when MSU’s athletic director announced that Tucker would be fired.

Tucker became embroiled in controversy after a USA Today report alleged Tucker had nonconsensual phone sex with a woman working with the football team on violence education. The report said a woman working with the football program on violence education claimed that Tucker performed nonconsensual phone sex with her.

The woman, identified as Brenda Tracy, is also a rape survivor. The report alleges that Tracy filed a complaint against Tucker to the university in December 2022, which resulted in a Title IX investigation into Tucker’s behavior.

According to MSU leadership, an outside investigator was brought in when the initial report was filed in December. In July 2023, the investigator recommended a formal hearing regarding the allegations.

After his contract was terminated without cause, Tucker responded with a statement that read:

On Monday, Sept. 25, Mel Tucker’s attorney responded to the termination with a 12-page press release highlighting their reasons why Tucker should not be fired with reasons such as the following:

  • “Based on the aforementioned reasons, the reported behavior
  • Did not occur on-campus or off-campus in a University-sponsored program or activity as required by RVSM Policy III(E)(1)(c)(i-iii), and
  • Did not lead to continuing adverse effects on the campus or on a University-sponsored program or activity as required by RVSM Policy III(E)(1)(c)(iv), and Would not meet a definition of prohibited conduct, even if proven.”

Read the full 12-page response below:

The hearing for Tucker to respond to his allegations is scheduled for October.

MSU officials aid this action does not conclude the ongoing Office for Civil Rights case—the process will continue.

Acting Head Football Coach Harlon Barnett is now named as interim head coach, subject to board approval during its October hearing.

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