Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker watches a play against Central Michigan from the sideline during the second half at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023.

Michigan St. probe finds Mel Tucker sexually harassed activist

Michigan State concluded its investigation into the interactions of Mel Tucker with a female contractor, ruling that the former football coach violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy.

Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and sexual assault prevention activist who was hired by Tucker to speak with his players and then alleged that the coach harassed her, gave a copy of the university’s 73-page report to USA Today on Wednesday.

The determination from the school’s investigation was that Tucker sexually harassed Tracy prior to a video call in which he masturbated. Tracy said the sexual attention was unwanted, but Tucker maintains that the two were involved in a romantic relationship.

The final verdict from the report, according to USA Today: “In sum, considering all available evidence, the Resolution Officer finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that Respondent subjected Claimant to unwelcome conduct based on sex when he FaceTime video called Claimant without a shirt on; when he attempted to meet up with Claimant alone following the Spring Game; and when he non-consensually masturbated and used graphic, sexual language on a phone call with Claimant.”

Tracy told USA Today regarding the school’s findings, “My first reaction was tears of relief.” She added that the reporting procedures were “a nightmare to navigate.”

Michigan State suspended Tucker on Sept. 10 after news of the investigation into sexual harassment was leaked. He was given notice on Sept. 18 that he would be fired with cause, then had his contract terminated on Sept. 27 for leaving the university “subject to public disrespect and ridicule,” according to the school.

Tucker subsequently announced that he was filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university.

Tucker can appeal the Wednesday ruling within the next 10 days.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) before the game against the Green Bay Packers  at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens sign K Justin Tucker to 4-year extension

The Baltimore Ravens signed kicker Justin Tucker to a four-year extension through the 2027 season on Monday.

The total value of the deal is $24 million, including an $11.5 million signing bonus and $17.5 million guaranteed, multiple outlets reported.

Tucker, 32, once again becomes the NFL’s highest-paid kicker at $6 million per season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed Chris Boswell for $5 million per season last week, briefly tying Tucker for that honor.

Heading into his 11th season with the Ravens in 2022, Tucker is the most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history with a career conversion rate of 91.1 percent.

Last season, he broke the NFL record with a 66-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Detroit Lions 19-17 in Week 3.

Tucker has converted 326 of 358 FG attempts and 382 of 386 extra-point tries (99.0 percent) in 161 games since making his debut in 2012. He is a five-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection.

–Field Level Media

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker celebrates as he exits the field, after his record 66-yard field goal lifted the Ravens past the Detroit Lions, 19-17, at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.

Ravens’ Justin Tucker finds extra length for winning 66-yard FG

Justin Tucker was short from 65 yards out in both directions during his pregame kicking routine on Sunday.

But the Baltimore Ravens kicker was just long enough as time expired in the game as he kicked an NFL record 66-yard field to give the Ravens a 19-17 victory over the host Detroit Lions.

Tucker’s field goal barely made it. The kick hit off the crossbar and bounced high before falling through.

“I guess I found something to help that ball go as far as it needed to go,” Tucker said afterward.

Tucker surpassed the 64-yard field goal Matt Prater made in 2013 when he kicked for the Denver Broncos. Prater’s kick came against the Tennessee Titans.

Tucker’s previous long was 61 yards. Coincidentally, that also happened against the Lions in Detroit. On that occasion, it came with 38 seconds left to give the Ravens an 18-16 win on Monday Night Football.

So naturally, Ravens coach John Harbaugh figured a 66-yard boot was possible

“When it went off his foot, I thought it had a chance,” Harbaugh said. “Justin Tucker, he’s the best kicker in NFL history.”

Tucker, a four-time Pro Bowler, trotted out for the kick fully aware it would be a challenge.

“Whenever we’re fortunate enough to have a game-winning field goal opportunity, especially a walk-off, I get more nervous after the fact thinking about what if that didn’t go the way we wanted it to go,” Tucker said. “I kicked it, tried to get a good picture. As soon as it left my foot, I knew it was going to have a chance but I was short from 65 in pregame both ways. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get the ball to just go.

“Thankfully, we found an extra yard-and-a-half that I didn’t have (about four) hours earlier.”

The Lions feel Tucker should have never had an opportunity to attempt the field goal.

On the preceding play, television replays show that the play clock reached zero approximately two seconds before Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson received the snap and threw an incomplete pass.

But no delay of game penalty was called. If there had been one, any field goal attempt would have been 71 yards.

Referee Scott Novak said in a pool report after the game that he hadn’t reviewed the play and said that back judge Terrence Miles oversaw the play correctly.

“As far as our mechanics, the back judge is looking at the play clock and if it were to hit zero, he sees the zero, and he then looks to see if the ball is being snapped,” Novak said. “If the ball is being snapped, we will let the play go. If it’s not moving, it’s delay of game.”

That description didn’t impress Lions coach Dan Campbell after his team fell to 0-3.

“There’s nothing I can say to that, because it’s the same thing,” Campbell said. “Tomorrow you’ll get an apology and it doesn’t mean anything. That’s life and that’s the hand we were dealt.”

–Field Level Media