Former CU coach Tucker fired by MSU in wake of sexual harassment investigation

Sep 18, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:03 pm

Mel Tucker...

Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Former Colorado Buffaloes head football coach Mel Tucker has been fired by Michigan State on Monday, the school said.

The 51-year-old four-year head coach of the Spartans is being let go in the wake of allegations that Tucker sexually harassed activist/rape survivor Brenda Tracy.

An investigation into Tucker was launched months ago following a complaint by Tracy. She claims Tucker sent her gifts, asked if she would date him if he wasn’t married and masturbated without her consent during a phone call, according to a USA Today report. Tucker had been suspended for the past week.

Tracy visited the school in 2021 and 2022 to speak to the football team about preventing sexual misconduct. Tucker called her multiple times, tried to meet her alone, and “even suggested slipping into her hotel through a back door so no one would see him,” according to the USA Today report.

“I, with the support of the administration and board, have provided Mel Tucker with written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause,” Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said. “This notification process is required as part of his existing contract. The notice provides Tucker with seven calendar days to respond and present reasons to me and the interim president as to why he should not be terminated for cause.”

Tucker was hired in 2018 as Colorado’s replacement for Mike MacIntyre, who was the subject of a scandal in Boulder. Coach Mac failed to report an allegation in 2016 that one of his assistant coaches had been assaulting his girlfriend all the while giving him a de facto promotion. MacIntyre was the Coach of the Year in the sport in 2016 but that scandal and stalling of the program led Colorado to Tucker.

Tracy visited Colorado’s football program in 2017 after those issues.

Tucker went on to post a 5-7 record with a lot of hype in Boulder and then left in the middle of the night in February of 2020 after just one season to take the Spartans’ job after Mark Dantonio retired. Now Dantonio is back working for the school as they try to stabilize after Tucker’s soon-to-be firing.

Tucker signed a huge contact extension after a season and a half in East Lansing, which was slated to expire in 2032. That contract includes non-performance-related compensation of $9.5 million per year, including a $5.9 million base, $3.2 million in supplemental compensation for media and personal appearances, plus a $400,000 contingent annual bonus, according to the school. Tucker is in the third year of a $95 million, decade-long deal however, the school would not have to pay him what’s remaining on his deal or the $70 million buyout if he’s fired for cause.

Tucker was 20-14 at MSU, winning a Peach Bowl and getting the team into the top-10 of the AP Poll. Michigan State is no stranger to scandal with multiple happening under current basketball coach Tom Izzo.

One the worst happenings in modern sport occured in East Lansing when Team USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was charged with sexually assaulting at least 265 young women and girls in 2015. Nassar worked both for the national team and for the Spartans.

Meanwhile Rick George ended up with the safeness of Karl Dorrell who drove Colorado into the darkness before Deion Sanders brought true light upon the Buffaloes for the first time in two decades.



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