EAST LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - A hearing that will weigh allegations of sexual harassment against Mel Tucker, Michigan State University's fired football coach, is expected to begin Thursday in East Lansing.
The disciplinary hearing will sort through whether Tucker violated the school's sexual misconduct policy in his communications with Brenda Tracy, and examine the credibility of both figures.
The hearing is expected to span Oct. 5 and 6 and will attempt to determine if the accusations against Tucker are true - that he pursued Tracy romantically including the details of a phone call where he masturbated and used sexual comments toward her - and whether he sought to exact revenge against the accuser when he canceled a scheduled visit to campus by Tracy.
The hearing is a step in the Title IX office's investigation that began months ago when a complaint was first filed against Tucker by Tracy.
While an investigation ensued for several months, a hearing that was initially scheduled over the summer was continually delayed by Tucker over scheduling conflicts. They soon settled on Oct. 5 and 6.
But weeks before then, Tracy said her name was leaked to the press, prompting her to go public with a story in USA Today where she revealed the existence of her complaint against Tucker and her allegations against him.
The fallout against Tucker was swift, with the MSU athletic director suspending him a day after the story was published. He was soon notified of a pending termination before being fired with cause. In doing so, the school intends to no longer pay what's left of the massive contract offered by MSU to Tucker.
The fired head football coach has said he plans to sue the school.
In fiery statements made toward the school, Tucker has called the investigation a "sham" and implied that "other motives are at play" behind the school's decision to remove him.
Title IX process
According to MSU's Office of Civil Rights, the Title IX investigation process begins when a formal complaint is filed with the department. The grievance process includes an investigation, hearing, and appeal.
At that time, the complaint is made known to the accused. Only the investigator, the accused, and the accuser are aware of the details of the complaint at this time.
During the investigation, both parties are interviewed by an investigator. It's during that time when both can present information to the investigator. At the conclusion of the investigation, a report is submitted to both parties before an officer convenes a hearing.
During the hearing, both parties can ask questions and clarify facts within the case. Twenty days after that, the officer issues a written decision on whether the accused is responsible or not responsibile for violating the policy.
Both parties can submit appeals to an Equity Review Officer within 10 days of the decision. An appeals process will then play out