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Report: Michigan State’s Mel Tucker Under Sexual Harassment Investigation

Warning: The story will include graphic and disturbing details of alleged sexual violence and harassment towards an adult female.

Earlier on Saturday evening, reports emerged from ESPN’s Dan Murphy that Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker is under investigation by the university for alleged sexual harassment.

According to Murphy’s report, the program declined to release reports involving Tucker to ESPN despite a FOIA request, which has to be granted under federal and state law in most cases. The open records request was denied on July 30, 2023.

Tucker violated MSU’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy in April 2022. Kenny Jacoby of USA Today reports that the Spartans’ head coach pursued a romantic relationship with Brenda Tracy.

Ms. Tracy is a rape survivor and women’s sexual violence advocate. She advocates for her cause by traveling to numerous campuses and discussing how men can improve and protect women from sexual violence.

According to the USA Today report, she filed a claim with the school’s Title IX office in December 2022. What she is alleging is graphic and disturbing, particularly to women who have suffered sexual violence like herself.

**** NSFW WARNING ****

Among the allegations, Ms. Tracy states that Tucker initiated a phone sex conversation and performed self-coitus on his person. An allegation that Mr. Tucker did not deny as seen in the excerpt below:

“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” Tucker wrote in a March 22 letter to the investigator. “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.”

Mel Tucker to USA Today

Tracy commented on the matter as stated below:

“The idea that someone could know me and say they understand my trauma but then re-inflict that trauma on me is so disgusting to me, it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” she told USA TODAY. “It’s like he sought me out just to betray me.”

Brenda Tracy to USA Today

There are further details of the now-confirmed phone call that are listed that are too graphic in nature to print

The phone call in question took place during the spring of 2022. Tucker was in Florida for a university-funded event. After reading the conversation, it can be assumed that it was a non-consensual one-sided conversation that deeply disturbed Ms. Tracy.

Tucker’s Title IX Defense

While he has admitted to the calls, he denies the one-sided nature of the conversation’s content and the reasoning behind his presence in Florida. In an investigation by Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, a prominent Title IX lawyer, he was in Florida for an unrelated event but used university-funded accommodations.

What is particularly heinous if proven to be true is the doubting of the veracity of Ms. Tracy’s past with sexual violence.

During the interview, Tucker also made an explosive new allegation: He said his associate had told him that renowned ESPN investigative reporter Paula Lavigne was investigating the veracity of the gang-rape story at the heart of Tracy’s public persona. The information, Tucker said, made him question how Tracy “goes about her business.”

USA Today

ESPN and the reporter have denied the allegations of doing such an investigation multiple times.

What’s next?

The university and Tucker have chosen to be silent about the school’s ongoing investigation into Tucker. As you can recall, the coach signed a groundbreaking 10-year, $95 million fully guaranteed contract in 2021. What is unknown about the nature of any potential “for cause” termination clauses in that deal. The university and its associated parties will surely look into them as this situation is quite sensitive. Michigan State hosts the University of Washington next Saturday. It remains to be seen if Tucker will be associated with the program by that date.

This Mel Tucker scandal is coming off the heels of a decades-long scandal involving Larry Nassar, the USA gymnastics hierarchy, and the university. Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison and concurrent 40 to 175-year sentences from the state of Michigan.

It is our sincerest hope that Ms. Tracy gets the justice deserved by any person going through or who has gone through sexual violence.

Note: If you the reader or you know of anyone who has suffered through sexual violence, please do not hesitate to contact rainn.org via their phone or chat system, available 24/7/365.

Hotline: 1.800.656.4673

Chat: online.rainn.org

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