Michigan State University head football coach Mel Tucker was supposed to have his sexual harassment hearing in August, a week before the season began, Lansing State Journal reported. Tucker and his attorney, Jennifer Belveal, pushed it back until October, allowing him to continue receiving his salary of $750,000 a month.
But Tucker was suspended without pay Sunday, a month before the hearing could determine if he violated his $95 million contract with the university. MSU Athletic Director Alan Haller made the announcement after a USA Today article revealed him to be the subject of the ongoing Title IX investigation.
Accusing Tucker of sexual harassment is Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and advocate who worked with Tucker to educate his team on sexual misconduct. Tracy claimed during a phone call between the two in April of 2022, Tucker masturbated without her consent.
Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, the Title IX attorney MSU hired to investigate Tracy’s claims, finished her investigation in late July, and set the hearing date for August 22 and 23.
Tucker’s attorney, Jennifer Belveal, told Veidlinger she was not available either of those dates. When Veidlinger then suggested ten dates in September, Tucker and Belveal told her they could only make one.
Tracy and her attorney, Karen Truszkowski, were available for one of the two August dates and nine of the ten September dates.
Tucker and Belveal said they were available the first week of October, which is the football team’s bye week. The hearing is now scheduled for October 5 and 6, two months later than initially proposed.
Tracy claims Tucker made deliberate attempts to stop or slow the Title IX process from the start of the investigation.
“Coach Tucker has been delaying and trying to stop the investigative process since the beginning,” Tracy said in a statement released on social media Monday night. "He can’t afford to go to a hearing that determines credibility of the participating parties.”
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