LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – It’s been a tough month for Michigan college football. A USA Today article published last week forced Michigan State University to suspend head football head coach Mel Tucker amid sexual harassment allegations. The school is now in the process of terminating Tucker by September 26.
U of M head football coach Jim Harbaugh will return to the sidelines this weekend following a school-imposed, three-game suspension stemming from his role in four Level II violations and one Level I violation. The university doled out the punishment after the initial NCAA suspension fell through.
Harbaugh told The Bleacher Report that the time away from the game shifted his perspective. “Seeing the game in a different way, through a different lens, I think it’s made me a better coach,” Harbaugh told the outlet. “As a result, we’re going to implement some new things that we haven’t done as it relates to a few policies around here to make sure I don’t ever get sidelined again, ramping that up to a gold standard, and also how we watch the game as an offense.”
The Wolverines did all right by Harbaugh in his absence, starting the season with a 3-0 record.
In East Lansing, the Spartans (2-1) are reeling from Saturday’s tough loss on the field and the permanent loss of their head coach. Tucker appeared to be doubling down on Tuesday following the MSU’s announcement that it would start termination proceedings against him.
Tucker told USA Today that he is “disappointed, but not surprised” that MSU plans to fire him by September 26. He referenced a “serious health condition” in which he requested medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
“I don’t believe MSU plans to fire me because I admitted to an entirely consensual, private relationship with another adult who gave one presentation at MSU, at my behest, over two years ago,” Tucker wrote in a statement. “A cursory reading of the facts and timeline should cause any fair-minded person to conclude that other motives are at play.”
The woman with whom Tucker allegedly had a “consensual, private relationship” that he referenced in his statement is Brenda Tracy, the woman who gave the presentation at MSU on behalf of her organization “Set the Expectation.” She is a rape survivor and said she and Tucker did develop a friendship, but it went too far during a phone conversation in April 2022. She says he masturbated on the phone; Tucker claimed it was consensual phone sex.
Meanwhile, MSU is giving Tucker until September 26 to respond to their notice to terminate and get out from under the remainder of his 10-year, $95 million contract.