Michigan State Plans to Dig Into Source of Leak in Mel Tucker Investigation

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker walks the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Richmond, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 45-14. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

By Associated Press

September 18, 2023

EAST LANSING—Michigan State is looking into the source of a leak that led to Brenda Tracy’s identity being revealed as part of an investigation into her allegations that suspended football coach Mel Tucker sexually harassed her.

School spokeswoman Emily Guerrant confirmed Sunday that the school plans to investigate the leak.

Tracy’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, said last week that her client’s name was disclosed by an outside party and that triggered their cooperation with a USA Today report that exposed explicit details.

Tracy, an activist and rape survivor, said Tucker sexually harassed her during a phone call in April 2022. Eight months later, Tracy filed a complaint with the school’s Title IX office and the investigation was completed in July.

A hearing is scheduled for the week of Oct. 5 to determine if Tucker violated the school’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy and a ruling could take up to 60 days.

Guerrant said the university wanted to ensure a fair and comprehensive process, creating a safe environment for individuals to come forward without a fear of institutional retaliation or breach of privacy.

“We are dismayed to learn the confidentiality was broken in this case,” Guerrant said last week.

The 51-year-old Tucker, who said he is estranged from his wife and has two children, said the allegations against him are “completely false.” Tucker insisted that the intimate phone call he had with Tracy was consensual and outside the scope of both Title IX and school policy.

Tucker is in the third year of a $95 million, 10-year contract and if he is fired for cause, the school would not have to pay him what’s remaining on his deal.

Michigan State may fire Tucker for cause if he “engages in any conduct which constitutes moral turpitude or which, in the University’s sole judgement, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule upon the university,” according to his contract.

The leak, though, potentially gives Tucker leverage in settlement negotiations with the school.

Officially, the school said “unprofessional behavior and not living up to the core values of the department and university,” was the reason Tucker was suspended.

Tracy is known for her work with college teams, educating athletes about sexual violence. Michigan State paid her $10,000 to share her story with the football team.

The Spartans (2-1) were routed 41-7 by No. 8 Washington on Saturday in Harlon Barnett’s debut as interim coach.

Michigan State hosts high-scoring Maryland (3-0) on Saturday.

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