What a turn of events. Towards the beginning of the 2023 football season, the University of Michigan announced that head football coach Jim Harbaugh would have to miss the first three games of the season. Why? It was part of self-imposed penalties for NCAA recruiting infractions allegedly by Harbaugh. Because of that three-game suspension, Harbaugh missed Michigan’s home games against East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green. The team still won all three games, so all was well in the end. But, now, Harbaugh is back in the Big House, and Michigan State University’s Mel Tucker is out.
Michigan State University’s Mel Tucker is Out
Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is back this weekend for his first official game of the season. Meanwhile, MSU has announced that they’ve started the process of terminating Mel Tucker’s employment as head football coach at the university.
MSU vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics Alan Haller released a statement about the Tucker situation this week, stating, “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.”
The note added, “This action does not conclude the ongoing Office for Civil Rights case; that rigorous process will continue.”
Tracy, who is a sexual assault activist and rape survivor, alleged that Tucker sexually harassed her during a phone call in April 2022. Then, eight months later, Tracy filed a complaint with the MSU’s Title IX office. They completed the investigation in July. Now, a hearing will take place on Oct. 5 regarding if Tucker violated the school’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy. Furthermore, the ruling could take up to 60 days to complete.
Meanwhile, Tucker says he’s estranged from his wife. Moreover, the father of two has said the accusations against him are “completely false.” Tucker says the phone call that Tracy is referring to was consensual and not part of Title IX and the school policy.
As a MSU graduate, I don’t know what to think of the Mel Tucker situation. There seem to be a lot of odd aspects to this story. The Larry Nassar situation, in which the MSU sports doctor was convicted of multiple counts of sexual misconduct, seemed much more cut and dry. One thing is certain: MSU is on the search for a new head coach. Hopefully we bring on someone as good as former MSU coach Mark Dantonio.