Ex-Michigan State coach Mel Tucker planning to file wrongful termination lawsuit

Former Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker is planning to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university, he confirmed on Thursday via ESPN's Dan Murphy and Pete Thamel.

Tucker sent a letter through his attorney to Michigan State officially requesting that the university maintain both electronic and paper records for all members of the athletic department and other employees “in anticipation of litigation.”

The move came just one day after Tucker was officially fired for cause in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.

Tucker was first suspended without pay earlier this month after multiple reports said he had sexually harassed Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault awareness activist, when she was employed as a vendor with the school. Tracy, a rape survivor herself, works with football teams and other groups throughout the United States to raise awareness about sexual harassment, assault and rape. She was hired by Michigan State to provide "a sexual misconduct prevention educational program" for the football team.

Tracy allegedly told Michigan State investigators that Tucker sent her gifts, asked her if she would date him if he wasn’t married and even masturbated on a phone call without her consent. Tucker has insisted that their relationship and his actions were consensual.

Michigan State fired him for cause on Wednesday, a week after it said it planned to do so. By firing him for cause — which the university can do due to a clause in his contract that allows that action if he has demonstrated "conduct which constitutes moral turpitude" or conduct that "brought public disrespect, contempt or ridicule upon the university" — Michigan State is not required to pay him the $75 million that is left on his 10-year, $95 million contract.

Tucker’s impending wrongful termination lawsuit will attempt to force Michigan State to pay at least part of that remaining deal. It is unclear when it will be officially filed.

Tucker was hired at Michigan State in 2020. He compiled a 20-14 record there over four seasons, though 11 of those wins came during the 2021 campaign. He signed his new 10-year extension with the school after that season, which made him one of the highest paid coaches in the sport.

The Spartans are now being led by interim head coach Harlon Barnett. They have lost two straight games headed into Saturday’s matchup at Iowa.

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