Michigan State University has suspended head football coach Mel Tucker without pay amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. The university’s athletic director, Alan Haller, confirmed the suspension and announced that secondary coach Harlon Barnett will lead the program on an interim basis.
The investigation into Tucker was initiated following a complaint by Brenda Tracy, a prominent sexual assault prevention advocate. Tracy alleged that Tucker had sent her gifts, asked about dating her if he wasn’t married, and engaged in inappropriate behavior during a phone call without her consent.
The formal decision regarding Tucker’s job status and the more than $77 million remaining on his contract is expected to be determined during a hearing to assess whether the school’s sexual harassment policy was violated. The hearing is scheduled to begin on October 5.
The suspension of the head coach adds to the ongoing scrutiny and challenges facing the Michigan State University football program.