As news broke Sunday morning that MSU head football coach Mel Tucker is the subject of an ongoing Title IX investigation, students across campus reacted with shock, anger and embarrassment.
“I was shocked to be honest — it’s upsetting to see as a female too,” environmental studies and sustainability junior Kirah Czub said. “I think it’s really disgusting and upsetting and I hope it isn’t true, but my thoughts go out to the victim.”
Tucker, who has been the head football coach for three years, has been accused of sexual harassment by Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault survivor and advocate. In his time as coach, Tucker worked alongside Tracy on a campaign to promote consent and healthy sexual practices at MSU, specifically among athletes.
As coach, Tucker garnered a positive reputation among the Spartan community. But the news of the investigation into Tracy's claims has left students confused and disappointed.
Kinesiology freshman Joseph Nesom said he was shocked by the news but emphasized the need to wait for more evidence to come to light.
“When you hear ‘Mel Tucker,’ you don’t think of something like that,” Nesom said.
“I think that MSU needs to fire him,” student packaging junior Alex Mirabitur said. “If the MSU athletic department only suspends him, I think we as students need to boycott the football games.”
The news has also caused people to question university administration and the Board of Trustees. Many are left wondering why the investigation, which began in early 2023, was not made public sooner. According to Mirabitur, hearing the news came as a surprise.
“I mean this is really the public finding out about it now,” Mirabitur said. “But that just makes me wonder how long has the athletic board known about this?”
Student trust in university leadership has dwindled in the last several years following multiple Title IX cases and repeated instances of sexual harassment and assault. Regarding similar cases such as that of disgraced ex-MSU sports physician Larry Nassar, Mirabitur said he would like to see if the administration has learned how to handle such investigations.
In addition to student reactions on campus, an anonymous member of MSU’s class of ‘89 left a sweatshirt and handwritten note in front of the Hannah Administration Building. The shirt, which has the popular "Tuck Comin'" slogan used by many football fans on the front, has been written over in a statement that reads, "Yes, we all know. Now please make Tuck go!"