Michigan State suspends Tucker without pay

Published 6:15 pm Sunday, September 10, 2023

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University has suspended football Head Coach Mel Tucker without pay pending the completion of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations by a former rape victim Sunday.

Michigan State Athletic Director Alan Haller and interim President Theresa Woodruff announced the suspension at a press conference Sunday afternoon. The story came after a USA Today story earlier Sunday claimed that an investigation had revealed that Tucker has been accused of sexual misconduct by sexual assault victims advocate Brenda Tracy. Tucker denied the allegations.

The USA Today story also said Tucker is involved in a Title IX investigation. A hearing is scheduled for early October.

Tracy had been asked to speak twice to the Spartan football team and was an honorary captain of the 2022 spring game in April. According to allegations, the incident took place 12 days later, which prompted Tracy to cancel a scheduled third training session at Michigan State, which was set for late July of 2022.

She filed a Title IX complaint in December. Tucker was interviewed by an outside Title IX attorney in March and the investigation was completed in July. The Title IX hearing is set for Oct. 5-6 when the Spartans have a bye week.

Haller also announced that Harlon Barnett, the MSU secondary coach, will be the interim head coach and that former Spartan Coach Mark Dantonio would serve as associate head coach.

Michigan State is scheduled to play No. 8-ranked Washington at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.

Tucker has led Michigan State to a 20-14 record, which includes Saturday’s 45-14 victory over Richmond, which improved the Spartans to 2-0. Michigan State was just 5-7 last season after going 11-2 the first year under Tucker.