EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University's (MSU) head football coach Mel Tucker has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into alleged sexual harassment and misconduct.
The university announced the investigation and allegations on Sunday, a day after the Spartans defeated Rochester University in East Lansing.
MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff issued a statement Monday explaining the investigative process of head football coach Mel Tucker's alleged sexual misconduct.
In her statement, she lays out when the claimant first contacted the university about their allegation against Tucker and the steps the university took afterward.
Woodruff says that MSU's Office for Civil Rights immediately commenced review upon being contacted by the claimant.
Tucker is being accused by Brenda Tracy, a prominent rape survivor and activist who works to educate male athletes about sexual misconduct.
MSU Interim President, Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller and members of the Board of Trustees were first made aware of the sexual harassment/misconduct allegation against Mel Tucker.
The university responded by commencing a review and investigation using a third-party investigator.
July 25, 2023
The third-party investigator concluded their evidence gathering and submitted a report to the parties involved. The university notes that these findings do no make determinations and instead are used by a third-party resolution officer to hold a hearing.
August or September of 2023
Woodruff said in her statement that sometime between the third-party report being submitted and the day Tucker was put on administrative leave, new developments in the case were brought to light. These new developments were described as "details of acknowledged behavior."
Following these new developments, Athletic Director Haller suspended Mel Tucker without pay.
Oct. 5, 2023
A formal hearing will take place on Oct. 5 and 6. The dates were agreed upon by the claimant, respondent and third-party resolution officer.
The case will conclude once there is a hearing decision and any potential appeals are completed.
"It is natural for those who care deeply about MSU to have questions about the process and whether appropriate steps have been taken. During ongoing investigations like this, we may not be able to answer every question in detail. We do, however, want to share what we can and emphasize that the MSU of today has clear policies and procedures for addressing misconduct allegations," Woodruff wrote in her statement.
In Tucker's absence, Harlon Barnett will serve as the team's acting head coach. Mark Dantonio will become an associate head coach.
The university has offered several resources for community members to take advantage of:
MSU also says that if community members are ever concerned about their safety or see behavior that does not seem appropriate, to please consider these options:
• Report to MSU’s Title IX Coordinator/Office for Civil Rights anytime via the Online Reporting Form, or email email@example.com.
• Contact MSU through the Misconduct Hotline.
• If there is a safety or emergency medical concern, or a crime is occurring or has just occurred, call 911. Information about a potential crime may also be reported to the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety by phone at 517-355-2221.
Read the entire statement from Woodruff here.
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