Michigan State has officially fired head coach Mel Tucker for cause.
The move was expected, following the sexual misconduct complaint filed against Tucker by Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault awareness speaker.
The university released a statement, explaining the grounds for Tucker’s termination, stating that it was based on his “admitted and undisputed behaviors which have brought public disrespect, contempt and ridicule upon the university; and constitute a material breach of his agreement, and moral turpitude.”
The university had previously suspended Tucker without pay on September 10, and Athletic Director Alan Haller informed Tucker of the university’s intent to fire him for cause in a letter dated September 18.
The investigation into Tracy’s complaint was initiated in December 2022, with an upcoming university hearing still scheduled on the matter.
This formal firing marks the culmination of Michigan State University’s efforts to sever ties with Tucker, who had an eye-opening $79 million remaining on his contract.
By dismissing him for cause, the university aims to avoid paying Tucker any of the remaining money.
Michigan State officially fired Mel Tucker for cause.
This is far from the last word in the back-and-forth between the school and coach – but Tucker's tenure in East Lansing is over. pic.twitter.com/N8XYwJe7D9
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 27, 2023
Haller asserted in the letter that the university had “amassed a body of undisputed evidence of misconduct that warrants termination for cause.”
Tucker and his legal team vehemently objected to the firing for cause in a statement issued last week and in a letter from his attorneys on Monday, which labeled the proposed termination as “unjustified for several reasons.”
In a statement made on September 19, Tucker expressed his frustration, claiming that MSU “does not care about my rights, the truth, or its future liability for policing its employees’ private lives.”
In response, Haller, in Wednesday’s termination notice, criticized Tucker’s responses as offering “a litany of excuses.”
He further noted, “Simply put, Mr. Tucker’s response does not provide any information that refutes or undermines the multiple grounds for termination for cause set forth in the notice.”
With Tucker officially fired, we are left with the $79 million question.
On the football field, Tucker was struggling mightily to live up to the enormous 10-year, $95 million contract that Michigan State gave him in 2021.
Now, Michigan State is trying to get out of that contract by firing him for cause. Needless to say, Tucker is not expected to go silently into the night.
“I look forward to one day obtaining discovery against MSU, including the Trustees and the Athletic Department, to see what they really knew and said about this matter, as well as their motives in handling the entire investigative process,” Tucker said in his September 19 statement.
In her complaint, Brenda Tracy alleges that Tucker engaged in non-consensual sexual activity during a phone call in April 2022. Tucker vehemently denies the encounter was non-consensual and asserted that the investigator acknowledged a “personal relationship” between them.
Tucker’s lawyers, in their Monday letter, contended that the interactions between Tucker and Tracy were consensual and unrelated to their professional lives.
Despite Tucker’s termination, a hearing to determine whether Tucker violated university policy is still scheduled for early October. Tucker’s legal team has raised concerns about the fairness of the university’s investigation, describing it as “terribly flawed, unfair, biased, and devoid of due process.”
They also expressed concerns about the university’s ability to maintain confidentiality, following a report by USA Today in early September that detailed the allegations against Tucker. The university has retained the law firm Jones Day to investigate the alleged leak.
We’ll see how all of this turns out – but in regard to football, Tucker’s tenure at Michigan State officially ends with a disappointing record of 20-14.
Spartan fans had been expecting so much more following Tucker’s tremendous 11-2 season in 2021 which culminated in a Peach Bowl victory. It’s that impressive season which earned him the massive contract.
— Barstool Spartans (@BarstoolMSU) September 27, 2023
What is your take on this messy situation???