Mel Tucker says 'other motives are at play' behind MSU's decision to fire him

Mel Tucker, the head coach of Michigan State University's football team whose contract is in the process of being terminated a week after an investigation of sexual harassment allegations was publicized, lambasted the school in a statement from his attorney.

Tucker said other motives were at play when MSU announced it intended to fire him.

"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," the statement read.

Instead, Tucker said MSU was aware of the information it was using to end his contract since March 2023, but only did so after allegations from Brenda Tracy went public. A story about the investigation was published in USA Today after its scope was leaked elsewhere, Tracy said.

"MSU is punishing me for Ms. Tracy’s leak, which violated MSU’s rules regarding confidentiality of the investigation," read the statement, before following with, "MSU cut off any semblance of interest in the truth or due process by terminating me weeks before the hearing. I chalk this up to another about-face."

He called the administrations decision to fire him a week after it suspended him illogical. 

MORE: Mel Tucker to be fired by Michigan State University after sexual harassment allegations

"The investigation is designed to determine if I violated policy. I did not. But regardless, basic fairness requires that process play out before any sanction(s) are determined," read the statement.

Tucker was unlikely to coach the Spartans again after he was suspended by Athletic Director Alan Haller. But with $80 million left on his contract, the question over whether he will see any of that money remains in question.

MSU said Monday that Tucker had breached his contract after conducting behavior it said was "highly inappropriate and improper." In Tucker's contract, it's written he would forfeit the remaining money for "conduct which constitutes moral turpitude."

According to reports, MSU has also opened an investigation into who leaked the investigation. Tracy had spoken to the press before, but no story had been published.

In Tucker's statement, he said the school had also ignored his concerns about details leaking out of the university. According to his statement, FOIA requests had already been filed for investigations against him and the school had denied them, citing privacy. Tucker said he "demanded an investigation into leaks" weeks before allegations that he sexually harassed Tracy went public.

He added the notice of intent to terminate came days after he requested a medical leave for a serious health condition.

"I can only conclude that MSU does not care about my rights, the truth, or its future liability for policing its employees’ private lives. Ms. Tracy manufactured false allegations against me. MSU ignored its own policies in pursuing a biased investigation into them."

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