Michigan State University is facing a major controversy as its head football coach, Mel Tucker, is currently under investigation for allegations of sexual harassment. The investigation, which began several months ago, is said to have been prompted by a complaint filed by Brenda Tracy, a prominent sexual assault-prevention advocate who herself is a survivor of rape. Tracy claims that Tucker had sexually harassed her during a phone call, where he allegedly asked if she would date him if he weren't married and masturbated without her consent. These shocking accusations have sent shockwaves through the university and the sports community at large.
The relationship between Tucker and Tracy initially began on a professional level, with Tracy being invited to speak to the Michigan State football team on multiple occasions in 2021 and 2022. She was even named an honorary captain for the team's spring football game in April 2022. However, following this event, Tucker allegedly started contacting Tracy repeatedly and suggested meeting up alone. Tracy felt uncomfortable with Tucker's advances and eventually decided to file a complaint with the university's Title IX office in December.
According to USA Today, Tucker provided a conflicting statement to the Title IX investigator, claiming that the phone call in question involved consensual "phone sex." However, Tracy vehemently denies this, stating that Tucker had sought her out only to betray her. The investigation was conducted by an outside Title IX attorney, who concluded their findings in July. As a result, a hearing has been scheduled for October 5 and 6 to determine whether Tucker violated any school rules.
This scandal has not only cast a dark cloud over Michigan State University but has also raised questions about the integrity of college sports and the treatment of sexual assault survivors. Tucker, who signed a lucrative 10-year, $95 million contract extension in November 2021, has been a vocal advocate against sexual violence in sports, making these allegations all the more shocking.
Michigan State University has issued a statement regarding the investigation, stating that they do not comment on ongoing investigations as a matter of protocol. However, they assured the public that any complaint regarding a violation of the university's policies on relationship violence and sexual misconduct would be thoroughly reviewed and followed up on by their Office for Civil Rights. The university emphasized the importance of confidentiality in creating a safe environment for individuals to come forward and pledged to take every complaint or concern seriously.
The repercussions of this investigation could be significant, not only for Tucker but also for the university itself. If the allegations are found to be true, it could have far-reaching consequences for the football program and the university's reputation as a whole. As the investigation continues, all eyes will be on Michigan State University and the actions they take to address this serious issue.