Athletic Director Alan Haller intends to terminate head football coach Mel Tucker’s contract, according to a statement released today.
“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 the statement. “This notification process is required as part of his existing contract."
If in the next seven days Tucker does not present Haller and Woodruff with sufficient reasons why his contract shouldn’t be terminated, his termination will take effect on Sept. 26.
In the notice of intent sent to Tucker, Haller said Tucker’s admitted behavior breaches the contract he holds with Michigan State University. He said Tucker engaged in "conduct which constitutes moral turpitude," and brought "public disrespect, contempt, or ridicule upon the University."
Specifically, Tucker’s sexually explicit behavior over a phone call with rape survivor and advocate Brenda Tracy – including flirtatious comments and masturbation – violated Tucker’s “contractual duty to the University to conduct (himself) in a professional and ethical manner," Haller said.
“It is decidedly unprofessional and unethical to flirt, make sexual comments, and masturbate while on the phone with a University vendor,” Haller said in the statement. “The unprofessional and unethical behavior is particularly egregious given that the Vendor at issue was contracted by the University for the sole purpose of educating student-athletes on, and preventing instances of, inappropriate sexual misconduct.”
Tucker’s behavior, which Tracy claimed was not consensual, brought much attention to MSU. Haller lists this another reason Tucker is to be terminated.
“Headlines from various and prominent other news outlets also have brought public disrespect, contempt, and ridicule onto the university and prominently and negatively placed the university's culture and reputation into the forefront of the news cycle,” Haller said.
The decision does not affect the ongoing investigation into Tucker’s alleged sexual misconduct, and the hearing will still take place on Oct. 5 and 6.