Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker is the subject of an ongoing university sexual harassment investigation, multiple sources with knowledge of the pending case confirmed to ESPN.
The sources did not confirm the complainant’s identity or details about the allegations Saturday night. Sources said the investigation started months ago and remains open.
ESPN filed a public records request with Michigan State on July 30, seeking documents related to any complaints alleging that Tucker violated the university’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy.
The school’s interim president refused the request, citing a passage in state law that exempts information that “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of an individual’s privacy.”
“Under FOIA’s privacy exemption, information is exempt if (1) it is personal in nature, and (2) disclosure would reveal little to nothing about the inner workings of the government. Information is personal in nature when it is intimate, embarrassing, private, or confidential,” Michigan State wrote in its denial.
ESPN believes the denial is a violation of state open records law and has engaged a Michigan-based law firm to pursue potential litigation.
“As a matter of protocol, the university does not comment on potential investigations. Let me assure you that if any complaint came forward regarding a violation of the university’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy, it would be thoroughly reviewed and followed up on by MSU’s Office for Civil Rights,” a spokeswoman for Michigan State said in a statement to ESPN Saturday night. “When investigations do happen, they need the ability to be conducted in a thorough and confidential manner.”
Tucker is in his fourth season as Michigan State’s head coach. He signed a contract extension in November 2021 worth roughly $95 million over 10 years, making him one of the highest paid coaches in college sports. Tucker’s contract says the school can fire him with cause “if the coach engaged in any conduct which constitutes moral turpitude or, which in the university’s reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule.”
Michigan State is 2-0 this season after defeating Richmond 45-14 Saturday.