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Appeal by fired Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker in sex harassment case denied

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An appeal by former Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker of findings in a sexual harassment case that led to his firing has been denied.

An attorney hired by the East Lansing school as an equity review officer said in a decision dated Wednesday that Tucker failed to provide information that proved error or bias.

Tucker told investigators that he had consensual phone sex with activist and rape survivor Brenda Tracy. Tracy is known for her work with college teams educating athletes about sexual violence and Michigan State had paid her $10,000 to share her story with the football team.

She filed a complaint with the school in 2022, saying Tucker sexually harassed her during a phone call that April. Several months later, she filed a complaint with the school’s Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education.

Tracy’s allegations were made public by USA Today on Sept. 10, 2023.

Tucker was suspended in September and Michigan State fired him later that month. The school said it terminated Tucker after he subjected the institution to ridicule, breaching his contract and moral turpitude.

A resolution officer concluded in October that Tucker engaged in behavior that violated the school’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Policy by sexually harassing and sexually exploiting Tracy.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Tracy thanked those who she says believed and supported her.

“It’s been a 13 month long nightmare,” Tracy wrote. “Tucker was found responsible for sexual harassment & exploitation and today his appeal was denied.”

Messages seeking comment were left Thursday with Tucker’s attorney, Jennifer Belveal, and agent, Neil Cornich.

Why Nick Saban retired at the right time after 17 seasons with Alabama

Tucker was in the third year of a $95 million, 10-year contract. He was due to earn about $80 million remaining on the deal.

He began his coaching career with Nick Saban as a graduate assistant for the Spartans in 1997. He returned to the school with one of the biggest contracts in college sports after leading Colorado for one season and serving as an assistant coach at Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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