Just over one week after suspending their head coach following allegations of sexual harassment, the Michigan State Spartans have given Mel Tucker notice of intention to terminate his contract for cause.
Michigan State Gives Mel Tucker Notice of Intention to Terminate His Contract
According to documents obtained by Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, Michigan State has provided Tucker written notice of their intention to terminate his contract. The former Colorado head coach is currently serving a suspension after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in a USA Today article.
“At this point, the University has amassed a body of undisputed evidence of misconduct that warrants termination for cause,” the letter reads. “Notably, the following facts are undisputed and justify termination for cause.”
The letter goes on to detail how, during the course of a Title IX investigation into allegations made by “Set the Expectation” founder and sexual assault victim Brenda Tracy, Tucker admitted to:
- Commenting to the Vendor about her looks, body, and body parts, specifically her “ass.”
- Making flirtatious comments to the Vendor (Tracy) in conversations that you state “happened often.”
- Masturbating and making sexually explicit comments about yourself and the Vendor while on the phone with the Vendor, which you describe as “phone sex” and “a late-night intimate conversation.”
Tucker has consistently stated that his “relationship” with Miss Tracy was of a consensual nature, stating that he “wasn’t proud of my judgement” but “did not engage in misconduct by any definition.”
According to the notice of intention to terminate letter, the admittance of the actions detailed above, even though Tucker maintains they were consensual, is enough for Michigan State to terminate his contract.
“Your admitted behavior materially breached your obligation to “conduct) (your]self professionally and ethically. . . at all times.” (Section I.C.15.) It is decidedly unprofessional and unethical to flirt, make sexual comments, and masturbate while on the phone with a University vendor,” the letter reads.
“The unprofessional and unethical behavior is particularly egregious given that the Vendor at issue was contracted by the University for the sole purpose of educating student-athletes on, and preventing instances of, inappropriate sexual misconduct.”
“Your admitted conduct engaging in sexual extramarital behavior with a University vendor- rises to the level of a material breach of your contractual duty to the University to conduct yourself in a professional and ethical manner “at all times.”
Under Tucker, Michigan State has compiled a 20-14 record, buoyed by a magical 2021 season where the Spartans went 11-2 and won the Peach Bowl, reaching an AP Poll ranking high of fifth — the best since 2015. However, results — and performances — have failed to live up to the elevated expectations placed on the head coach following a big-money contract extension.
Tucker has seven days to respond to the letter. Otherwise, he’ll be formally fired on Sept. 26. It has been considered a formality that the Michigan State head coach would be relieved of his duties from the minute news broke of his suspension, with Action Network’s Brett McMurphy originally reporting that Tucker had been fired before clarifying his original statement.