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Mel Tucker’s appeal denied, Michigan State closes investigation

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Former Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker had his appeal denied Thursday in the university’s sexual harassment investigation into his actions toward an activist and rape survivor.

Michigan State hired an outside attorney, Courtney Bullard, to hear Tucker’s challenge that the school’s resolution officer and an outside investigator exhibited bias against him in the process.

Bullard upheld the resolution officer’s decision, leading the university to consider the matter closed.

“Based on the facts outlined in the record, the (Resolution Officer) had a reasonable basis for each of the challenged findings,” Bullard wrote. “The RO’s Decision is upheld. This decision is final.”

Bullard denied Tucker’s assertion that there was no evidence of unwanted sexual contact with his accuser, Brenda Tracy.

Tucker was fired in September amid an investigation into sexual harassment allegations involving Tracy, a sexual assault awareness speaker.

While Field Level Media’s policy is not to name alleged victims of sexual harassment or assault, Tracy agreed to be identified last year when she provided documentation in an interview with USA Today.

The final verdict from the initial report said: “In sum, considering all available evidence, the Resolution Officer finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Respondent subjected Claimant to unwelcome conduct based on sex when he FaceTime video called Claimant without a shirt on; when he attempted to meet up with Claimant alone following the Spring Game; and when he non-consensually masturbated and used graphic, sexual language on a phone call with Claimant.”

Tucker appealed Michigan State’s ruling in October that he violated the university’s sexual misconduct policy, claiming not only a bias against him but also that new evidence would show he was being falsely accused.

Tucker provided texts and an affidavit from the cousin of Tracy’s late friend and booking assistant, claiming they would show Tracy was plotting to get money out of the accusation. But Bullard wrote that not only was the information submitted two weeks after Tucker’s hearing, it would not have affected the final decision.

“It’s been a 13 month long nightmare, but the MSU RVSM process is finally over,” Tracy wrote Thursday on X, formerly Twitter. “Tucker was found responsible for sexual harassment & exploitation and today his appeal was denied. Thank you to those who believed me and supported me through this. I appreciate you.”

Michigan State fired Tucker for cause, costing him about $80 million remaining on a 10-year contract he was given in November 2021.

Tucker had a 20-14 record as Michigan State coach. He was Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2021 when the Spartans went 11-2.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media features breaking news & coverage of 7,000+ annual events from a network of more than 200 professional journalists across North America.

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