INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JULY 26: Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans speaks at Big Ten football media days at Lucas Oil Stadium on July 26, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Tracy has filed a Title IX complaint with Michigan State University, who following the Larry Nassar scandal, has been trying to rehabilitate its public image.
Tucker acknowledged that he did masturbate on that phone call, but he alleges that it was a consensual act, claiming that the pair were engaged in phone sex. In Tucker’s letter to the Title IX investigator, he states, “Ms. Tracy’s distortion of our mutually consensual and intimate relationship into allegations of sexual exploitation has really affected me. I am not proud of my judgment and I am having difficulty forgiving myself for getting into this situation, but I did not engage in misconduct by any definition.”
The case has potentially broad implications for how the university is seen following its highly-publicized failure to hold gymnastics coach Larry Nassar accountable for his years of sexual assault.
Jennifer Gomez, a professor at Boston University who researches effects of interpersonal trauma and violence, told USA Today, “This goes beyond coach Tucker and Brenda Tracy. What happens here has the potential to be very healing or very harmful for lots and lots and lots of other people.”
A hearing has been scheduled in October, but the Title IX investigation has already uncovered several inconsistencies in Tucker’s account including the reason that he cancelled Tracy’s July 25 in-person training for his team not lining up with timelines. In addition to this, Tucker also did not identify any witnesses that could agree with Tucker’s version of events which includes his associate whom he promised would speak on condition of anonymity. Tucker also made an allegation that an investigative reporter from ESPN, Paula Lavigne, was investigating the truthfulness of Tracy’s account of the gang rape that is the center of her public facing work. Lavingne denied this allegation via a statement she gave to USA Today: “Neither (Tracy’s) organization nor Tracy is or has been the target of any investigative reporting.”
Lavigne added. “I’m perplexed that Mel Tucker would respond to a complaint of sexual harassment by involving me or ESPN.”
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Source: Black Enterprise