Michigan State plans to fire suspended football coach Mel Tucker

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University on Monday informed football coach Mel Tucker that it intends to fire him for cause, officials said.

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Tucker, 51, had been suspended without pay since Sept. 9 after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced, school officials said.

Athletic director Alan Haller sent a letter dated Monday to the fourth-year coach, who signed a 10-year, $95 million contract extension less than two years ago, The Detroit News reported.

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

Tucker was suspended after USA Today reported a complaint of inappropriate conduct by sexual assault advocate Brenda Tracy.

The detailed allegations included Tucker reportedly admitting to a Title IX investigator that he performed a lewd act during a phone call with Tracy, MLive reported.

In his statement to the investigator, Tucker acknowledged his actions during the call but said that Tracy had “grossly mischaracterized” the incident, adding that they had consensual “phone sex,” USA Today reported.

“I, with the support of administration and board, have provided Mel Tucker with written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause.,” Haller said in a statement on Monday. “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. This action does not conclude the ongoing Office for Civil Rights case; that rigorous process will continue.”

In a statement released on Sept. 11, Tucker called the allegations “completely false.” He added that the investigation was “devoid of any semblance of fairness,” and that his hearing in early October would be “so flawed that there is no other opportunity for the truth to come out,” WDIV-TV reported.

A message sent to Tucker’s attorney was not immediately returned Monday afternoon, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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