Rolling Out

Michigan State gave White coach kid-glove treatment, but not Mel Tucker

University moves swiftly once news against football coach becomes public
Michigan State gave White coach kid-glove treatment, but not Mel Tucker
Michigan State University (Photo credit: / Focused Adventures)

Michigan State has suspended football coach Mel Tucker without pay less than 24 hours after it was revealed he was embroiled in a Title IX investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. The announcement of his suspension was made on Sept. 10. It was erroneously reported previously that the Spartans had fired Tucker.

A formal hearing has been set for Oct. 5. The external investigation concluded on July 25, and MSU athletic director Alan Haller did not explain why Tucker wasn’t suspended until a day after the news became public. The AD did reportedly say the circumstances changed.

A complaint was filed in December 2022 by Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and activist against sexual violence. The complaint claimed Tucker made sexually suggestive comments and masturbated while she “sat frozen for several minutes” during a phone call on April 28, 2022. The details of the claim were made public by USA Today. Tracy visited the campus at least three times since 2021, and was recognized as an honorary captain at a MSU spring football game.

Tracy told USA Today she felt betrayed by Tucker for his alleged actions because he knew her trauma and she felt like he purposely targeted her.

“It’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around,” she told the outlet.

Tracy was gang raped by four men, three college football players and a recruit, in 1998. She went public with her message in 2014, starting a movement to end violence against women in college sports.

Tucker, who has been married for over 20 years and has two sons, claims the exchange was consensual.

“I am not proud of my judgment and I am having difficulty forgiving myself for getting into this situation, but I did not engage in misconduct by any definition,” Tucker wrote in a letter to an investigator, obtained by USA Today.

Michigan State is the same school that employed Larry Nassar, the disgraced trainer who is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on sexual abuse and child pornography charges. Nassar was accused by multiple gymnastic athletes, of all ages, of sexually abusing them, dating back to when he was hired by the university in 1997. In 2014, the school cleared him of any wrongdoing, according to the Lansing State Journal. On Aug. 4, 2016, a lengthy report was published by The Indianapolis Star exposing Nassar. On Aug. 29, 2016, a former MSU gymnast filed a criminal complaint against Nassar for abusing her during a back treatment when she was 15 in 2000. On Aug. 30, MSU officially fired Nassar, almost a month after the investigative story was made public.

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