Michigan State University has concluded its investigation into the actions of former football coach Mel Tucker in his interactions with a female contractor, determining that he violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy. The findings were disclosed in a 73-page report obtained by USA Today on Wednesday.
Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and sexual assault prevention activist hired by Tucker to address his players, had previously alleged that Tucker had harassed her. She provided a copy of the university’s report to USA Today.
According to the investigation’s findings, Tucker sexually harassed Tracy, including a disturbing incident during a video call where he masturbated without her consent. While Tracy asserted that the sexual attention was unwanted, Tucker maintained that they had been involved in a romantic relationship.
The final verdict from the report states, “In sum, considering all available evidence, the Resolution Officer finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Respondent subjected Claimant to unwelcome conduct based on sex when he FaceTime video called Claimant without a shirt on; when he attempted to meet up with Claimant alone following the Spring Game; and when he non-consensually masturbated and used graphic, sexual language on a phone call with Claimant.”
Tracy expressed her initial reaction to the school’s findings as “tears of relief” while acknowledging the challenging nature of the reporting process.
Michigan State suspended Tucker on September 10 after the news of the sexual harassment investigation became public. He was officially notified on September 18 that he would be terminated with cause. His contract was subsequently terminated on September 27, with the university citing his actions as subjecting it to “public disrespect and ridicule.”
Following his termination, Tucker announced that he would be pursuing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university. He now has the option to appeal the recent ruling within the next 10 days.
Michigan State University spokespersons have stated that the investigation into Tucker’s conduct has not been officially closed, as Tucker retains the right to appeal the hearing officer’s decision. Tucker had missed a prior hearing in October, citing a serious illness as the reason for his absence.
Tucker had been in his fourth season as the head coach of Michigan State before his suspension and subsequent termination. The Spartans have struggled since his departure, losing all five games, including a significant 49-0 defeat to rival Michigan. Michigan State will look to rebound when they face Minnesota in their next matchup.