Home NCAA Gloves Are Off: Looks Like Suspended MSU HC Mel Tucker Will Fight Allegations Tooth & Nail

Gloves Are Off: Looks Like Suspended MSU HC Mel Tucker Will Fight Allegations Tooth & Nail

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Gloves Are Off: Looks Like Suspended MSU HC Mel Tucker Will Fight Allegations Tooth & Nail
(Credit: Nic Antaya / Getty Images)

Suspended Michigan State Spartans head coach, Mel Tucker, has vehemently denied allegations of sexual harassment made against him by Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault awareness speaker.

In a statement released on Monday, Tucker called the upcoming hearing regarding the allegations “a sham” and insisted that the claims were “completely false.”

Tucker’s statement was issued through his attorney, Jennifer Belveal, in response to an investigative report published by USA Today that detailed Tracy’s accusations.

Tracy, the founder of a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about sexual misconduct, alleged that Tucker had sent her gifts, made inappropriate advances, and masturbated during a phone conversation without her consent.

“While I am saddened by Ms. Tracy’s disclosure of the sensitive nature of this call, let me be perfectly clear – it was an entirely mutual, private event between two adults living at the opposite ends of the country,” Tucker’s statement read.

“She initiated the discussion that night, sent me a provocative picture of the two of us together, suggested what she may look like without clothes, and never once during the 36 minutes did she object in any manner, much less hang up the phone.”

Tracy promptly responded to Tucker’s statement on social media…

“This is just more of the same DARVO, deflection, victim blaming and lies that I’ve been dealing with now for months… Coach Tucker has been delaying and trying to stop the investigative process since the beginning. He can’t afford to go to a hearing that determines credibility of the participating parties. I believe this statement is his way of getting out of participating in the hearing… October 5th and 6th I will be present for the hearing and make myself available for cross examination by his attorney Jennifer Belveal. I invite him to do the same.”

Michigan State’s Athletic Director, Alan Haller, disclosed that the university had been aware of Tracy’s complaint since December of the previous year when she filed a formal grievance with the Office for Civil Rights.

An independent investigator subsequently submitted a report in late July, recommending a hearing to determine whether Tucker had violated the university’s sexual misconduct policy.

Tucker had initially hired Tracy as a speaker for the Spartans football team in August 2021, and they developed a professional relationship. Tracy, however, contends that Tucker’s romantic interest was one-sided.

Tucker argued that their relationship was mutual and Tracy had, at times, encouraged it by “inviting and accepting gifts” from him. He asserted that Tracy did not object during the controversial April 2022 phone call and only raised concerns after her scheduled presentation to the team in the summer of 2022 was postponed.

Tucker also expressed concern about the fairness of the upcoming hearing, stating that it was designed for student infractions and did not allow him the opportunity to present evidence or make substantial arguments in his defense.

The hearing is being conducted under the university’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy, which applies to both students and employees.

He raised suspicions that the university’s actions might be influenced by its association with Larry Nassar, the former sports physician convicted of sexually assaulting numerous athletes, or potentially factors such as his race and gender.

Tucker signed a 10-year, $95 million contract with Michigan State in November 2021. On the field, he has yet to live up to that contract.

As the investigation unfolds, secondary coach Harlon Barnett has been named the acting head coach, with former coach Mark Dantonio returning as an associate coach to assist Barnett.

Michigan State is set to host #8 Washington this Saturday at Spartan Stadium.

What are your thoughts on the situation?

 

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