Michigan State AD eyed Mel Tucker separation before season, sources say - ESPN
Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said he wanted to separate former coach Mel Tucker from the football team months before the 2023 season began, but the school's administration prevented him from doing so, according to multiple sources familiar with comments Haller made about the matter to the university's board of trustees in September.
Haller fired Tucker for cause on Sept. 27, citing in part Tucker's admission that he had a sexual encounter with a woman hired to speak to the team. The woman, prominent sexual assault awareness speaker Brenda Tracy, claimed the coach harassed her and masturbated without her consent during a phone call. Tucker told university investigators that he and Tracy had an intimate, consensual relationship.
In an initial termination letter sent Sept. 18, Haller told Tucker that his admissions that he flirted and had a sexual encounter with a school vendor were grounds for termination regardless of consent. The sources told ESPN that Haller was aware of Tucker's admissions months before taking any disciplinary actions against him and pushed to take action sooner.
Tucker remained in charge of the Spartans' football program for the first nine months of the school's investigation, collecting millions of dollars in salary and opening up the school to the potential of additional legal liability if he committed any other violations of the school's sexual misconduct policy during that time.
Haller did not respond to a request seeking comment.
Through a university spokeswoman, Michigan State interim president Teresa Woodruff declined to answer whether she or anyone else in her administration discouraged Haller from acting sooner. The spokeswoman also declined to provide clarity about when