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Tucker's attorney prepares for possible litigation

September 28, 2023
<p>Head Coach Mel Tucker looks on during the Spartans game against the Wolverines. Oct. 30, 2021. </p>

Head Coach Mel Tucker looks on during the Spartans game against the Wolverines. Oct. 30, 2021.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Former MSU head coach Mel Tucker is preparing for litigation against the university for the termination of his $95 million contract yesterday, according to a statement released by Tucker’s attorney, Jennifer Belveal, that referred to his firing as "illegal."

The statement, which was addressed to general counsel Brian Quinn, notified several members of MSU administration, including Quinn, Interim President Teresa Woodruff and the Board of Trustees, to preserve documents related to Tucker “in anticipation of litigation.”

This includes all records, including personal emails and text messages, that are potentially related to Tucker’s employment, contract, Title IX case and related investigations.

“Failure to preserve such Records will result in a negative litigation inference against the University and other potential defendants,” according to the statement.

Tucker first hinted toward litigation on Sept. 19, in a statement where he said he looked forward to "one day obtaining discovery against MSU." He claimed his relationship with rape survivor and advocate Brenda Tracy, who accused Tucker of making explicit comments and masturbating over a phone call while she was working with him to educate his players on sexual assault, was a private matter, and "other motives" were at play in MSU's move to fire him.

The investigation into Tucker's behavior, instigated after Tracy filed a complaint against him in December 2022, was first made public on Sept. 10 through a USA Today report that revealed details of an ongoing sexual harassment investigation.

Following the release of the report, Athletic Director Allan Haller determined Tucker engaged in "conduct which constitutes moral turpitude," and brought "public disrespect, contempt, or ridicule upon the University”; behavior that violates his ten-year, $95 million contract with the university.

He was officially fired on Sept. 27.

Some of the records Tucker's attorney is requesting to be retained pertain to the alleged leak of the investigation to the press.

Tracy voluntarily shared documents pertaining to the investigation to USA Today, but wanted to wait for the investigation and hearing to be completed before coming out with her story. On Sept. 12, Tracy claimed she was forced to publicly come forward sooner than she hoped because someone gave her name to the media. 

The State News reported yesterday that an earlier draft of Tracy's statement originally accused "someone associated with" MSU's board of trustees of leaking her identity.

That same day, MSU began an investigation into the leak with outside firm Jones Day. When reached by The State News yesterday, MSU spokesperson Emily Guerrant was not able to give an update into the status of the investigation.

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