Michigan State is criticized for suspending Mel Tucker.

Michigan State is criticized for suspending Mel Tucker.

Michigan State is criticized for suspending Mel Tucker. The administration of Michigan State is under scrutiny for its management of sexual harassment claims against football coach Mel Tucker.

Why it is crucial: Tucker’s abrupt dismissal Sunday arrived with little explanation from university officials, prompting some to query whether anything has changed at MSU since the Larry Nassar scandal of 2018 exposed systemic failures in assisting sexual assault survivors.

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They’re saying: “There has been only one consistent trajectory exhibited at M & S University. Conceal and wait. On Sunday, Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly criticize Nassar, posted on social media, “Refuse transparency and accountability repeatedly.”

The initial ascent of Tucker at MSU was sudden and celebrated. In 2021, he was awarded a $95 million, 10-year contract.

Everything changed early Sunday morning when USA Today published a bombshell report documenting public speaker and rape survivor Brenda Tracy’s allegations that Tucker “made sexual comments about her and masturbated” during a phone call in April 2022.

Tracy, who was hired to assist the MSU football team beginning in 2021, complained in December to the university’s Office for Civil Rights, which investigates and prevents sexual misconduct and other forms of campus harassment.

In July, the outside counsel retained by MSU concluded its investigation into the allegations.

Tucker “acknowledged masturbating on the call” to the investigator, as reported by USA Today, but disputed any wrongdoing, describing it as consensual phone sex.

Tucker issued a statement on Monday describing the allegations as “completely false” and claiming the university’s investigation is biased.

Michigan State is facing a growing outcry over why it suspended Tucker only after the news surfaced and not several months earlier when officials were aware of the complaint.

According to the Detroit News, interim university president Teresa Woodruff and athletic director Alan Haller briefed several trustees on the complaint in December.

“This morning’s news might have sounded like the MSU of old,” Woodruff said at Sunday’s press conference. “It wasn’t so. It is not because an impartial, independent investigation is being conducted and will continue to be conducted.”

Lori Bullock, an attorney representing MSU swimmers and divers in a previous Title IX case, told the News, “MSU is only doing the right thing now because they’ve been called out and there’s been publicity around it.”

What follows: According to the News, a university hearing to determine whether Tucker violated MSU policy is scheduled for October 5.

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