Michigan State Football Coach Mel Tucker Faces Title IX Inquiry Amidst Serious Accusations – A Title IX investigation is currently underway for Michigan State University Football Coach Mel Tucker.
Michigan State University is currently conducting a Title IX investigation into allegations against one of its most prominent employees, Head Football Coach Mel Tucker. This investigation comes to light following a report by USA Today published early Sunday morning.
According to the report, Tucker is accused of engaging in non-consensual phone sex with Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor who was working with the MSU football program on relationship violence education at the time. Tracy, who allowed her identity to be disclosed by USA Today, claims that Tucker had invited her to speak to student athletes about her own traumatic experience, having been raped by three Oregon State University players and a high school recruit 25 years prior. Tracy and her non-profit organization, Set the Expectation, had been invited to the MSU campus multiple times to address the football team and were recognized for her advocacy work, including being named an honorary captain for the previous year’s spring game. According to Set the Expectation’s website, Tracy has delivered her message to thousands of players on more than 100 college campuses.
During their interactions, Tracy alleges that a friendship developed between her and Tucker. Tracy further asserts that during an April 28, 2022, phone call, Tucker engaged in non-consensual phone sex. She filed a complaint with the school in December 2022. Tucker, however, disputed Tracy’s characterization of the incident when questioned by a Title IX investigator hired by MSU to investigate the matter.
In a statement to USA Today, Tracy expressed her deep disappointment, stating, “I find it difficult to even comprehend the concept that someone who claims to know me and understand my suffering might re-inflict that trauma on me. It seems like he only found me to betray me.
Tracy also alleged that during their association, Tucker frequently called her, sent her gifts, and asked if she would consider dating him if he were not married. It is worth noting that Tucker is married and has two sons.
According to the USA Today report, Tracy declined Tucker’s request to meet alone, and Tucker allegedly even suggested entering her hotel through a back door to avoid being seen.
When reached by a USA Today reporter last Saturday, Tucker chose not to provide a comment regarding the situation. However, in a letter penned to a Title IX investigator back in March, he expressed his sentiments, stating, “Ms. Tracy’s portrayal of our relationship, which we both considered consensual and intimate, as allegations of sexual exploitation, has deeply impacted me.” Tucker continued, “While I regret my choices and struggle with self-forgiveness for finding myself in this situation, I want to emphasize that I did not engage in any inappropriate behavior.”
Michigan State University released a statement affirming their commitment to addressing complaints regarding violations of their Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy. The statement also emphasized the importance of confidentiality in creating a safe environment for individuals to come forward with concerns.
A formal hearing regarding the allegations against Tucker is scheduled for October 5 and 6, coinciding with the MSU football team’s bye week. This hearing will determine whether Tucker violated the school’s anti-sexual harassment policies and federal Title IX law, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.
It has been reported that Michigan State University denied a Freedom of Information Act request from ESPN for documents related to Tucker’s case, citing state law that protects individuals’ privacy. ESPN has hired a Michigan-based law firm to pursue potential litigation, contending that MSU’s records denial request violates open records laws since the alleged phone call occurred during university business and involved a person Tucker had previously hired to speak to his team.
Tucker, who signed a 10-year, $95 million contract extension in 2021, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the NCAA, may face consequences outlined in his contract if found to have engaged in conduct deemed to bring public disrespect, contempt, or ridicule to the university.
This development follows closely on the heels of Dr. Larry Nassar, a former physician for Michigan State University athletics and USA Gymnastics, filing a lawsuit against the university due to their refusal to disclose materials related to his case. Dr. Nassar is presently serving an extended prison sentence for the sexual assault of multiple female athletes.