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Michigan State fires football coach amid sexual harassment claims

Mel Tucker was suspended without pay on Sept. 10 as the school investigated claims the coach sexually harassed a rape survivor.
Michigan State fires football coach amid sexual harassment claims
Posted at 11:33 AM, Sep 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-27 13:34:07-04

Mel Tucker is no longer the head football coach at Michigan State. 

The university notified Tucker on Wednesday that it was terminating his contract due to sexual harassment allegations. 

Tucker was suspended without pay on Sept. 10 as the school conducted an investigation into claims the coach made sexual comments about a rape survivor who was reportedly brought in to speak with the team. Tucker was also accused of having phone sex with the woman.

Last week, the university informed Tucker that they planned to fire him, but allowed him to provide a statement about why he should not be fired. 

SEE MORE: Michigan State coach accused of sexually harassing rape survivor

Tucker denied the allegations, claiming the woman initiated the conversation and did not object to his actions. Even if the conversation was consensual, the university said Tucker was still acting unprofessionally and unethically.

"Your unconvincing rationalizations and misguided attempts to shift responsibility cannot and do not excuse your own behavior," the university's interim president wrote in a letter to Tucker. 

Harlon Barnett has been coaching the football team in Tucker's absence and will continue in the interim role.

The team started the season 2-0, but has lost its last two games. 

Tucker has more than $79 million remaining on his contract, according to ESPN. The network reports that the university is trying to avoid paying Tucker by firing him for cause.


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