Brenda Tracy plays a strong female role in not only today’s society, but specifically in Michigan. She has worked with ESPN, the Baltimore Ravens, the US Department of Justice, and The US Army. She gained recognition primarily for her resilience and assertiveness following the traumatic events of sexual harassment and rape involving four college football players.
Mel Tucker has been the head football coach at MSU for 3 years. In 2021, he won Big Ten Coach of the Year. He has had an influential role in American football for 25 years.
On September 10, 2023, Mel Tucker was suspended without pay from his title of head football coach. Brenda Tracy claimed that Tucker made non-consensual moves against her when she was hired to educate the MSU Football Team about her experience and sexual misconduct. Furthermore, one thing to note about this case was that USA Today released Tracy’s story on Tucker without her consent. She had been attempting to deal with the matter privately. After Brenda Tracy’s claims of sexual harassment were released, he publicly denied the claims, calling them “a sham”. Not only that, but he also claimed that Tracy was the one who encouraged their interaction. To which, Tracy responded “DARVO” (deny, attack, and reverse victim offender).
On September 18, 2023, a week after the news of the allegations were released, Michigan State claimed that their intent was to terminate Tucker’s contract. This case has become an investigation, in which “undisputed evidence” has been found. Michigan State plans to fire Tucker.
In my opinion, there are a lot of fishy things going on with this case. In a discussion with my family, we spoke about how clout and publicity is a big part of this. Brenda Tracy had many people behind her and received positive encouragement after her first case when she stood up for herself. Additionally, Tucker had a $95 Million contract with Michigan State. One last observance: Brenda Tracy’s name was leaked by a “outside party” that triggered cooperation with USA Today. Posing from a conspiracy theorist perspective, a possibility could be that MSU publicized the information as a reason to fire Tucker. Why would MSU want to continue to pay $95 million for an at most mid-range skilled coach? Tucker has only had one winning season over his four year career at Michigan State. This is not in any way undermining Tracy’s story. The victim’s story can get muddled and forgotten about in all of the rumors, theories, etc. but, it’s just as important, as it’s the foundation of why there is so much talk surrounding the college.
Michigan State has been known as a problematic place, especially in the sports department. This was not MSU’s only large scandal, and not the only one based on sexual harassment allegations. In fact, if you look at articles that aren’t related to Mel Tucker but still Michigan State, there are a lot of scandals. Many questions are brought to mind, but one that sticks out is, “How much more has Michigan State brushed over?”. In my research, it was overwhelming how many misconduct issues there were involving Michigan State. What was even more astonishing was the percent of those issues that included something with sexual misconduct and harassment. There were scandals beginning even before the Nassar case was publicized, which could be common for any organization, yet it still strikes me in concern with how many large-scale scandals there have been. The interim president, Teresa Woodruff, stated that “the MSU of today is creating a culture that is welcoming, supportive, and caring.” Was MSU a welcoming place when a man who had assaulted and traumatized more than 250 women continued to work by developing adults? Was MSU a supportive place when Tucker made Brenda, and who knows how many other women feel uncomfortable in a professional setting? Is MSU a caring place, when they continually cover up real and traumatic assaults on people? There has been a story/article involving Michigan State and accusations involving sexual assault each year since 2015 (from what I could find).
2015: Publication of Larry Nassar Scandal begins
2016: Title IX investigation: MSU investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
2017: Larry Nassar found guilty and sentenced to prison
2018: MSU’s basketball program accused of sexual misconduct, allegations dating back to 2010.
2019: Three MSU basketball players investigated on sexual assault allegations, but dropped due to lack of evidence.
2020: Staff member of MSU’s football team is arrested and charged with criminal sexual conduct.
2021: MSU refuses to provide documents and information on Larry Nassar case, therefore the investigation is closed. MSU hires woman formerly accused of rape coverups.
2022: Sanjay Gupta (former dean of MSU’s Broad School of Business) resigns because of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Michigan State University has major issues in coverups and addressing serious problems in their workplace. There is so much more to cover including sexual misconduct, especially a lot that came out amidst the Larry Nassar case. This was an overwhelming and saddening article to write. It’s not as cut and dry as the Spaniard Soccer issues. This case is something that comes from a history of neglect and discounting. This has at least been an issue for them for ten years, which is only considering when these things were publicized. MSU needs to take accountability for their weak assertiveness and protection over students, guests, and staff.
My name is Lucia and I am a freshman at City High Middle. Some of my favorites things are soccer, reading, Clairo's music, and the movie Little Women.