Michigan State's head coach Mel Tucker walks the field before the football game against Central Michigan on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

Report: Michigan State coach Mel Tucker accused of sexual harassment

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker is the subject of a recently concluded, months-long investigation into whether he violated the school’s policy banning sexual harassment and exploitation, USA Today reported Sunday.

A hearing that could determine Tucker’s future in his job is set for Oct. 5-6 during Michigan State’s bye week.

In a lengthy article published Sunday, Tucker’s accuser — Brenda Tracy — described to USA Today how she met Tucker and told her story through to the night that led to the allegation. While Field Level Media’s policy is not to name alleged victims of sexual harassment or assault, Tracy agreed to be identified in her USA Today interview and provided hundreds of pages of documentation.

Tracy, a rape survivor, works to educate athletes about sexual violence. She was paid to speak to the football team twice, and she was named an honorary captain for the Spartans’ 2022 spring football game.

Tracy and Tucker apparently had a working relationship that became friendly, but Tracy said Tucker crossed the line during an April 28, 2022, telephone call. According to USA Today, she filed a complaint last December with the university’s Title IX office that said Tucker “made sexual comments about her and masturbated” during that call.

That report triggered a Title IX investigation, done by an outside attorney and completed in July, per the report.

In a statement to the Title IX investigator, Tucker said the two had consensual “phone sex” and acknowledged masturbating.

“Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me,” Tucker wrote in a March 22 letter to the investigator, per the report. “I am not proud of my judgment and I am having difficulty forgiving myself for getting into this situation, but I did not engage in misconduct by any definition.”

Tracy denies there was anything consensual about the call and said she had discouraged romantic advances from Tucker. She told USA Today that Tucker is trying to ruin her career and reputation.

Tucker hung up on a USA Today reporter who was seeking comment Saturday night, and Michigan State officials declined to make a statement, citing the investigation and the need for confidentiality.

Tracy is an influential advocate against gender-based violence through her nonprofit organization, Set The Expectation.

Tucker is one of the highest-paid coaches in college football, signing a 10-year, $95 million contract before the 2022 season. The contract is fully guaranteed if the school fires Tucker for performance.

However, it contains a clause that allows Michigan State to fire him, without payment, if he engages in “conduct which, in the University’s reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule on the University,” per the report.

At the October hearing, both sides can present evidence to corroborate their cases. USA Today said another outside Title IX attorney, hired by Michigan State, will review the initial report and all evidence to determine whether Tucker violated school rules.

Michigan State is no stranger to acts of sexual harassment and assault.

The university has paid out more than $510 million to hundreds of women who sued, claiming they were abused by former Michigan State sports doctor Larry Nassar under the guise of medical treatment. As part of their case, the women said the university ignored complaints for years and kept him in his job.

He was sentenced to at least 100 years in prison.

Tucker, 51, is in his fourth season as head coach of the Spartans, who are off to a 2-0 start.

A longtime college and NFL assistant coach, Tucker got his first head coaching job in 2019 with Colorado. Despite Tucker’s 5-7 record with the Buffaloes, Michigan State plucked him away for its coaching job before the 2020 season. In 2021, the Spartans were 11-2 and won the Peach Bowl, and Tucker was rewarded with the massive contract.

His overall record at Michigan State is 20-14 after a 5-7 season in 2022.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Waco, Texas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Les Miles during the game between the Bears and the Jayhawks at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Les Miles paid to settle sexual harassment case

Former LSU coach Les Miles reportedly was investigated for sexual harassment of student workers early last decade and reached a settlement with at least one of the women, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.

According to The Advocate, the settlement doesn’t show up in court records in Baton Rouge, La., and emerged amid a investigation into how LSU has handled allegations of sexual misconduct.

USA Today sued LSU in January for copies of the Miles investigation report after the university refused to release it. A judge ordered that it remain sealed until March 30, when a trial to hear Miles and LSU’s objections will be heard.

LSU also has retained the outside law firm Husch Blackwell to audit roughly 60 sexual misconduct cases from 2016 to 2018.

The investigation involving Miles reportedly occurred in 2013, three years before he was fired by the school after the football program’s fortunes dropped significantly from the established level earlier in Miles’ tenure.

The Advocate reached Miles on Wednesday, and he denied he made sexual advances toward a student intern.

“That’s not true,” Miles said.

Miles declined to answer questions about the reported settlement.

Miles, 67, is now the head coach at Kansas, where he has a 3-18 record in two seasons with the Jayhawks.

He was 114-34 in 11-plus seasons at LSU. His team won the BCS national championship in 2007 and was the national runner-up in 2011. He won 10 or more games on seven occasions with the Tigers.

His last 10-win season occurred in 2013.

Miles was 19-10 over his final two-plus seasons and was fired after a 2-2 start in 2016. He coached at Oklahoma State prior to LSU.

LSU spokesman Jim Sabourin released the following statement to USA Today: “We are not in a position to comment on these allegations, as there is currently a court order prohibiting the disclosure of any related information.”

Kansas officials told USA Today that the school didn’t know about the allegations when Miles was hired. The school said it spoke to Miles and is gathering more information.

“Because this involves Coach Miles’ former employer and pre-dates his time at KU, and because we do not have factual knowledge about details of these allegations, it is not appropriate for us to comment further,” spokesman Dan Beckler said.

–Field Level Media

Nov 30, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Ex-cheerleader alleges sexual harassment by Snyder

Another 25 women have reported being sexually harassed while working for the Washington Football Team, with one accusing team owner Dan Snyder of trying to coax her into visiting his friend in a hotel room.

In a story published Wednesday by The Washington Post, former cheerleader Tiffany Bacon Scourby said Snyder asked her at a 2004 charity event to meet his friend in the room so the two “could get to know each other better.”

A Post report last month said 15 women verified that a culture of sexual abuse surrounded the team. But Scourby, among the new group of women to come forward, is the first to implicate Snyder directly.

The allegations in the original report, which span from 2006 through 2019, primarily include inappropriate sexual comments, unwelcome overtures and pressure to wear revealing clothing.

On July 17, Snyder issued a statement that said the story “strengthened my commitment to setting a new culture and standard for our team, a process that began with the hiring of Coach (Ron) Rivera earlier this year.”

Some of the 25 women said they decided to talk now because Snyder’s response angered them. And several of them, The Post said, pointed fingers at the executive suite.

“Many of the women who have come forward in recent weeks with harassment allegations pointed to former executives named in the previous Post report: Alex Santos, the recently fired pro personnel director; (Larry) Michael, the club’s longtime radio voice and a senior vice president, who abruptly retired last month; Dennis Greene, former president of business operations, who left in 2018 amid allegations he had sold access to cheerleaders; and Mitch Gershman, former chief operating officer, who left in 2015,” the Wednesday story read.

Santos and Gershman declined to comment to the newspaper, and Greene did not respond to requests for a comment.

The latest Post report also said Michael ordered his staff to make a video for Snyder showing “lewd outtakes” from the film shoot for the team’s 2008 cheerleader swimsuit calendar.

Michael denied the report, but Brad Baker, a former member of the team’s broadcast staff, said it was true.

“Larry said something to the effect of, ‘We have a special project that we need to get done for the owner today. He needs us to get the good bits of the behind-the-scenes video from the cheerleader shoot onto a DVD for him,’” Baker said.

The franchise has had an offseason of upheaval.

Rivera took the reins as head coach on New Year’s Day. In April, the club traded the anchor of their offensive line, disgruntled tackle Trent Williams. Snyder agreed to drop the team’s controversial name, Redskins, in July, with a new name pending. That came days before The Post’s initial report.

Earlier this month, the team released running back Derrius Guice, a second-round draft pick in 2018, following his arrest on domestic violence-related charges. Wide receiver Cody Latimer was released on Sunday. The NFL placed Latimer on the Commissioner’s Exempt List on July 27, following an incident in May in which gunshots were fired in an apartment in Colorado. Latimer was charged with felony assault in the second degree, menacing and illegal discharge of a firearm, as well as two misdemeanors — prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Last week, Washington named Jason Wright as the team president.

–Field Level Media