Michigan State and Mel Tucker are headed toward an ugly divorce.
Per ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Michigan State officials are moving toward firing Tucker “for cause” after signing him to a 10-year, $95M contract extension in Nov. 2021.
According to Thamel, Michigan State told Tucker’s attorney in a statement it has enough evidence to support its decision to fire him.
Thamel notes the university invoked an early termination provision, which states that Tucker brought “public disrespect, contempt, and ridicule on the university.”
Per the letter, Tucker has “seven days ‘to present to the Athletic Director and the University’s President as to why [you] should not be terminated on the grounds … stated.”
The two sides are digging their heels in for a fight but chances are Tucker’s coached his final game with the Spartans.
On Sept. 10, USA Today reported on an investigation into Tucker after Brenda Tracy, an advocate on sexual misconduct prevention, filed “a complaint with the university’s Title IX office in [Dec. 2022],” alleging sexual misconduct from Tucker.
The university suspended him without pay the following day.
While acknowledging an intimate phone conversation, Tucker wrote in a statement that it was consensual. He blasted the university’s decision, as well as the investigation into the matter, in a statement, writing “The sham ‘hearing’ scheduled for Oct. 5-6 is ridiculously flawed and not designed to arrive at the truth.”
In response, Tracy wrote, “Tucker has been delaying and trying to stop the investigative process since the beginning,” and that he “can’t afford to go to a hearing that determines credibility of the participating parties.”
She added, “I believe this statement is his way of getting out of participating in the hearing.”
Tucker has a 20-14 record at Michigan State. He took over Mark Dantonio in 2020 and went 11-2 in his second season, prompting the university to reward him with that massive extension.
The Spartans are 7-8 since the start of the 2022 season, including a 2-1 mark in 2023. In the team’s two biggest annual games — against Michigan and Ohio State — it has a 2-4 record under Tucker, being outscored 110-243.