Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker has been suspended without pay.
The university’s athletic director Alan Haller announced the suspension on Sunday night after reports surfaced that Tucker was under investigation due to claims that he sexually harassed sexual assault awareness activist Brenda Tracy, who was hired to speak to Spartans players and even served as an honorary captain for the team’s 2022 spring game.
Interim university president Teresa Woodruff was also present at the conference and supposed Haller’s decision.
“The university’s objective has been and remains focused on conducting a fair, thorough, and unbiased investigation and allowing the processes to play out,” Haller said, via ESPN.com.
Tucker is being accused of making sexual comments and masturbating without consent during a phone call with rape survivor and activist Brenda Tracy.
Tucker and Tracy had formed a professional relationship “to fight the culture of sexual violence in sports” and Tracy was even invited to campus three times and served as an honorary captain for the team’s spring game.
Unfortunately, that all came to an end during the alleged phone call on April 28, 2022, according to USA TODAY.
“The idea that someone could know me and say they understand my trauma but then re-inflict that trauma on me is so disgusting to me, it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” Tracy said.
“It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”
— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) April 13, 2022
Tucker, who is one of the highest-paid coaches in college sports, denies the allegation and said that he and Tracy had consensual phone sex.
If Tucker is ultimately fired with cause, he would forfeit the remaining $80 million on his contract that Michigan State currently owes.
The Title IX investigation concluded over the summer and a hearing is scheduled during the Spartans’ bye week on October 5 and October 6 to determine if Tucker violated the school’s policy on sexual harassment and exploitation.