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Michigan State University Begins Process to Fire Mel Tucker as Head Football Coach

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Michigan State University (MSU) has initiated the process to terminate the employment of Mel Tucker as the head football coach. Alan Haller, MSU’s athletic director, sent a letter on Monday informing Tucker of the university’s plan to terminate his contract for cause.

The letter addressed to Tucker’s agent, Neil Cornrich, stated, “The University has become aware of various facts that have led to the unfortunate decision to terminate your employment for cause. At this point, the University has amassed a body of undisputed evidence of misconduct that warrants termination for cause.”

Tucker has been given a seven-day window to present reasons why he should not be terminated for cause. If he fails to provide satisfactory reasons, the termination would take effect on September 26.

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker reacts to a play against Central Michigan during the second half at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023.

Following allegations of sexual improprieties during a phone call with Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault victims’ rights advocate, Tucker was suspended by Haller on September 10. Harlon Barnett has been serving as the acting head coach for the Spartans in Tucker’s absence.

In a statement, Haller said, “I, with the support of administration and board, have provided Mel Tucker with written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause. 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.”

It is important to note that while Tucker’s termination process is underway, the ongoing Office for Civil Rights case against him will continue its rigorous process.

MSU’s football program spokesman mentioned that the university has no additional comments to offer beyond the statement and supporting documents, including the letter to Tucker and a copy of his 2021 contract.

Mel Tucker signed a 10-year, $95 million contract with MSU on November 24, 2021. He led the Spartans to an impressive 11-2 season and top-10 finish that year. Since taking over on February 12, 2020, Tucker has accumulated a career record of 20-14 with the Spartans.

Tucker’s attorney for the university’s Office of Institutional Equity investigation into Brenda Tracy’s allegations, Jennifer Z. Belveal, was not immediately available for comment.

The letter from MSU cited Tucker’s admission of masturbating during the phone call with Tracy as a violation of the moral turpitude clause in his contract. It also stated that Tucker breached the agreement by not conducting himself “professionally and ethically, with integrity and sportsmanship at all times.” The university is accusing Tucker of bringing public disrespect, contempt, and ridicule upon the institution.

Since the publication of the USA TODAY story, Tracy has accused Michigan State University or someone within the university of leaking her name to the media. She also mentioned that she spoke with USA TODAY separately to ensure her story was shared. In response, the university has hired the law firm Jones Day to investigate the alleged breaches of confidentiality.

During Tucker’s suspension, former MSU head coach Mark Dantonio returned to serve in an advisory role, while Harlon Barnett stepped in as the acting head coach. However, their first game in charge resulted in a 41-7 defeat at home against Washington.

A Title IX hearing regarding the investigation into Brenda Tracy’s allegations against Mel Tucker is scheduled for October 5-6.

Contact Chris Solari: [email protected]. Follow him @chrissolari.

Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter. Subscribe to the “Spartan Speak” podcast for new episodes every Tuesday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere you listen to podcasts. And catch all of our podcasts and daily voice briefing at

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Furthermore, the AI legalese decoder can contribute to the evaluation of the confidentiality breaches alleged by Tracy, ensuring a comprehensive

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