Michigan State suspends Mel Tucker amid sexual harassment allegations
Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said the suspension will be without pay. Haller also announced Harlon Barnett will take on the position of interim head coach. Currently, Barnett is the team’s secondary coach.Former head coach Mark Dantonio will also return to the program, however, his role has yet to be defined, according to Haller.
A recent story from WLSN.com detailed the Spartans’ decision to suspend Tucker and the surrounding fallout from that decision.
Below is an excerpt from the WLNS.com story.
Tucker is the subject of an ongoing university investigation into allegations of sexual harassment stemming from a complaint filed by Brenda Tracy in December 2022, the prominent rape survivor and activist against sexual violence told USA Today.
In the complaint, Tracy alleges Tucker made sexually suggestive comments and masturbated while she “sat frozen for several minutes” during a phone call on April 28, 2022. Tracy visited MSU at least three times as an activist starting in 2021 — including one in which she was recognized as an honorary captain at a Michigan State spring football game — and built a relationship with Tucker as part of her work on campus.
Tracy also alleges numerous other inappropriate incidents.
“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 USA Today. “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”
Tracy was gang raped at the hands of four men — three college football players and a recruit — in 1998. She went public in 2014 and has since transformed that traumatic experience into a message she has sprawled across college sports: Violence against women must stop.
In statements provided to the Title IX investigator, Tucker acknowledged that the April 28 phone call occurred; however, he claimed it was a consensual encounter.
“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” Tucker wrote in a letter to the investigator that was obtained by USA Today. “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.”