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Mel Tucker calls sexual harassment allegations ‘utterly false,’ says he was in consensual relationship

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Michigan State head soccer coach Mel Tucker is denying all claims that he sexually harassed Brenda Tracy, a famous sexual assault consciousness speaker, in a press release Monday.

Tucker, who was suspended with out pay by athletic director Alan Haller after a USA At this time story detailed the claims in opposition to the soccer coach, referred to as an upcoming listening to on the matter “a sham.”

The assertion, which was issued via Tucker’s lawyer, Jennifer Belveal, stated Tucker was in an “intimate, grownup relationship” with Tracy and that her claims are “utterly false.”

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Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker walks the sideline in the course of the second half in opposition to Richmond, Sept. 9, 2023, in East Lansing, Michigan. (AP Picture/Al Goldis)

Tracy, a sexual assault prevention advocate and rape survivor who runs a nonprofit targeted on elevating consciousness about sexual misconduct, informed Michigan State College investigators that Tucker despatched her items, requested whether or not she would date him if he weren’t already married, and masturbated with out her consent throughout a cellphone name, based on USA At this time.

Haller famous that the college knew concerning the claims since final December when Tracy filed the formal grievance to the varsity’s Workplace of Civil Rights. Tucker reportedly did the identical, offering a conflicting assertion that stated it was consensual “cellphone intercourse.”

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“Whereas I’m saddened by Ms. Tracy’s disclosure of the delicate nature of this name, let me be completely clear – it was a wholly mutual, non-public occasion between two adults dwelling on the reverse ends of the nation,” Tucker’s assertion reads, per ESPN. “She initiated the dialogue that night time, despatched me a provocative image of the 2 of us collectively, prompt what she might appear to be with out garments, and by no means as soon as in the course of the 36 minutes did she object in any method, a lot much less dangle up the cellphone.”

Michigan State had an unbiased investigator look into the claims, and a report on the matter in late July suggested the college to carry a listening to to see if Tucker violated the sexual misconduct coverage.

Tucker’s listening to is about for Oct. 5.

Mel Tucker coaches against Central Michigan

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker is proven throughout a sport in opposition to Central Michigan at Spartan Stadium on September 1, 2023, in East Lansing, Michigan. (Mike Mulholland/Getty Photos)

Tucker had beforehand employed Tracy to talk to his soccer program about sexual assault consciousness in August 2021. She was named an honorary captain throughout a spring sport in 2022 as nicely.

Tracy informed USA At this time {that a} skilled relationship was constructed with Tucker and that his “romantic curiosity in her was solely one-sided.”

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Tucker believes that the upcoming listening to is designed for college kids, and it prevents him from presenting proof or the power to argue for his innocence. He added that the investigation “has not been truthful or unbiased.”

“I can solely conclude that there’s an ulterior motive designed to terminate my contract based mostly on another issue, akin to a want to keep away from any Nasser (sic) taint, or my race or gender,” Tucker stated within the assertion.

Tucker has been the top coach of the Spartans since 2020 and signed a 10-year, $95 million contract extension in November 2021.

Michigan State at Media Days

Mel Tucker (Michael Hickey/Getty Photos/File)

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Michigan State secondary coach Harlon Barnett will function the interim head coach. Former coach Mark Dantonio is returning as an affiliate head coach.

Fox Information’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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