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Mel Tucker releases statement responding to sexual misconduct allegations

Tucker says the investigation by the university "has not been fair or unbiased" and alleges an ulterior motive to terminate his contract.
Credit: AP
Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker watches during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Indiana, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Bloomington, Ind. Michigan State won 20-15. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University (MSU) head football coach Mel Tucker is pushing back against allegations of sexual misconduct that resulted in him being put on administrative leave.

Tucker is being accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by Brenda Tracy, a prominent rape survivor and activist who works to educate male athletes about sexual misconduct.

The allegation stems from a personal relationship between the two where Tracy says that Tucker masturbated during a phone call with her.

Tucker acknowledges this incident in a statement he released on Monday.

"Yes, I did have a late-night intimate conversation with Ms. Tracy in April 2022," Tucker wrote.

This call is the source of a Title IX investigation by the university, but Tucker claims that the conversation had "nothing to do with the University and was outside of the scope of Title IX or any University policy."

MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff issued a statement Monday outlining the process the university used to investigate the allegations. In the statement, she says that the school administration first learned of the allegation in December of 2022 and a third-party investigation was concluded in July of 2023.

A hearing is scheduled for next month regarding the allegations.

"While I am saddened by Ms. Tracy’s disclosure of the sensitive nature of this call, let me be perfectly clear—it was an entirely mutual, private event between two adults living at opposite ends of the country. She initiated the discussion that night, sent me a provocative picture of the two of us together, suggested what she may look like without clothes, and never once during the 36 minutes did she object in any manner, much less hang up the phone," Tucker added in the statement.

Tucker says that it wasn't until months after the call that she told anyone that she was offended by the call and alleges that during that time Tracy even contacted him and "expressed a desire to return to MSU."

The head coach has been put on administrative leave without pay by the university pending the competition of the investigation and hearing. The hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5 and 6.

Tucker calls the upcoming hearing over the matter a "sham."

Tucker repeatedly claims in his statement that Tracy and himself were engaged in an "intimate, adult relationship" and that the conversation was consensual. Tucker also notes that this relationship with Tracy occurred while he was estranged from his wife. 

"I have been ripped from the Team that I love, without any meaningful opportunity to tell my side of the story other than this press release. I am incredibly proud of the outstanding group of men on the Team and my heart aches to be sidelined. I ask everyone to consider carefully the undisputed facts outlined and reserve judgment until the full truth comes out.," Tucker concluded in his statement.

In Tucker's absence, Harlon Barnett will serve as the team's acting head coach. Mark Dantonio will become an associate head coach.

You can read Tucker's full response here:

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