Michigan State University announced the suspension of head football coach Mel Tucker without pay on Sunday after news of an ongoing sexual harassment investigation broke.
According to the USA today report, Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and advocate for educating athletes on sexual violence, reported Tucker to the university’s Title IX office after he allegedly made sexual comments and masturbated while on a phone call with her.
“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 told the outlet. “It’s like he sought me out to betray me.”
Tracy said that she and Tucker started working together two years ago to fight the culture of sexual violence in sports. Over the course of eight months, they developed a professional relationship focused around her advocacy work. Tracy was even made an honorary captain at one of the team’s spring football games.
During a press conference, Vice president and director of athletics Alan Haller stated that there is an ongoing investigation on Tucker that started in December. He also stated that there was an investigative report submitted in July and there will be a formal hearing on Oct. 5 and 6.
The investigation was handled by an outside Title IX attorney, Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, who Michigan State hired.
According to her website, Tracy is a survivor of a brutal gang rape by four college football players. Despite taking all the right steps to report it, she never saw justice. Tracy then started her nonprofit, Set The Expectation, where her mission is to engage and empower men to be the change in their communities. She speaks to audience all over the country in attempt to inspire people to end sexual violence.
Tucker, who has been a college and NFL for the past two decades, became Michigan’s head coach in 2020. He signed a 10-year, $95 million contract with that school making him one of the highest paid coaches of college football.
While Tucker is suspended, secondary coach Harlon Barnett will be acting head coach, Haller also announced during the press conference, and former MSU coach Mark Dantonio will step in as associate head coach.
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