MichMash: Did MSU officials mishandle the Mel Tucker sexual harassment scandal?

MSU has another scandal on its hands, this time with MSU head coach Mel Tucker, who faces a sexual misconduct accusation. 

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker watches during an NCAA college football game against Richmond, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker watches during an NCAA college football game against Richmond, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich.

Michigan State University officials has begun the process of firing its head football coach, Mel Tucker, following allegations of sexual misconduct that surfaced last week in a report from USA Today

The complaint, filed by prominent rape survivor and activist Brenda Tracy back in December, accuses Tucker of making sexually explicit remarks and masturbating during a phone call with Tracy in April 2022. Tucker described the incident as consensual “phone sex” to investigators, denying any allegations of misconduct. Tracy was initially hired by Tucker to educate his team about sexual violence prevention, according to USA Today.

This week on MichMash, host Cheyna Roth sits down with Bridge Michigan’s education reporter Isabel Lohman to discuss whether the university handled the harassment case properly. 

In this episode:

  • MSU’s handling of Mel Tucker’s alleged sexual misconduct allegations
  • Tucker’s reaction to the sexual harassment
  • MSU banning concealed carry weapons on campus

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The USA Today report came out in the morning on Sunday, Sept. 10, and by that same evening MSU had announced they were suspending Tucker without pay. Since then, Tucker released a statement saying it was a consensual relationship.

MSU Athletic Director Alan Haller said in a statement that Tucker was notified on Monday of the administration’s intent to “terminate his contract for cause.” Tucker has until Sept. 26 to submit reasons to Haller why he should not be fired for cause.

A closed hearing in the case is scheduled for early October, during which Title IX investigators will determine whether Tucker violated university policy.

When asked by Roth whether closed hearings for these type of cases is normal, Lohman replied: “This is typical. When we are dealing with sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, Title IX claims, these hearings tend to be private. Between the complainant, the respondent and anyone else involved in investigating.” 

After this MichMash episode was recorded, it was announced by USA Today that Mel Tucker made about $6 million since the investigation started.

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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.