Reports: Michigan State officially fires Tucker after investigation into sexual harassment

Michigan State has officially fired head coach Mel Tucker after investigations into alleged sexual harassment, according to multiple reports. 

The Spartans athletic department terminated Tucker’s contract for cause, according to multiple reports. According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, Michigan State athletics director Alan Haller sent Tucker a termination letter on Wednesday. 

“Simply put, the Response does not provide any information that refutes or undermines the multiple grounds for termination for cause set forth in the Notice,” Haller stated in the letter. “Instead, the 25-page Response, which includes a 12-page letter from your attorney and a 13-page “expert report,” provides a litany of excuses for your inappropriate behavior while expressly admitting to the problematic conduct outlined in the Notice.” 

Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and activist, filed a complaint in December 2022 that outlines alleged phone sex conversations that she claims to have been nonconsensual. 

Tucker was suspended without pay Sept. 10 when details became uncovered that he is the subject of an ongoing university sexual harassment investigation. 

According to Pete Thamel of ESPN, Tucker responded Monday to Michigan State’s written letter originally outlining his impending firing for cause and claimed “the university adopted the allegations against Tucker ‘without any meaningful review of the facts.’” 

According to Thamel, Tucker’s response from his lawyers stated that “[Tucker] did not engage in unprofessional or unethical behavior or ‘moral turpitutde’ by any stretch of the imagination,” and that “under Michigan law, assault and battery does not even constitute ‘moral turpitude,’ and the flimsy foundation of the university’s finding – a private relationship involving mutual flirting and one instance of consensual phone sex – falls far short of the mark.” 

“Given that your Response did not demonstrate any reason not to terminate based upon the grounds stated in the Notice, the University terminates the Agreement for cause pursuant to the Early Termination Provision effective September 27, 2023,” Haller stated in the letter. 

According to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, Michigan State players have 30 days to decide whether or not to enter the transfer portal. 

Secondary coach Harlon Barnett has taken over interim head coaching duties while former head coach Mark Dantonio became an associated head coach.