Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller told suspended football coach Mel Tucker Monday that he will be fired without compensation for misconduct involving activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy.
“The notice provides Tucker with seven calendar days to respond and present reasons to me and the interim president as to why he should not be terminated for cause,” Haller said in a statement sent by the school.
Tucker is in the third year of a $95 million, 10-year contract and if he is fired for cause, the school would not have to pay him what’s remaining on his deal.
Haller said the decision does not affect the ongoing investigation into Tracy’s allegations of sexual harassment, which is being handled by the school’s office for civil rights.
Tracy said Tucker sexually harassed her during a phone call in April 2022. Eight months later, Tracy filed a complaint with the school’s Title IX office and the investigation was completed in July. A hearing is scheduled for the week of Oct. 5 to determine if Tucker violated the school’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy and a ruling could take up to 60 days.
Michigan State isn’t waiting that long to make a move.
The 51-year-old Tucker, who said he is estranged from his wife and has two children, said the allegations against him are “completely false.” Tucker insisted that the intimate phone call he had with Tracy was consensual and outside the scope of both Title IX and school policy.
The school has said “unprofessional behavior and not living up to the core values of the department and university” was the reason Tucker was suspended last week.
Tracy is known for her work with college teams, educating athletes about sexual violence. Michigan State paid her $10,000 to share her story with the football team.
Tucker coached the first two games of the 2023 season, which resulted in wins over Central Michigan and Richmond. Harlon Barnett was named the interim coach for the Spartans, while former head coach Mark Dantonio was named an associate coach and was on the sidelines for the team’s 41-7 loss to Washington on Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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