Michigan State Football: Initial thoughts about the Mel Tucker situation

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 09: Mel Tucker head coach of the Michigan State Spartans looks on before a game against the Richmond Spiders at Spartan Stadium on September 09, 2023 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 09: Mel Tucker head coach of the Michigan State Spartans looks on before a game against the Richmond Spiders at Spartan Stadium on September 09, 2023 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images) /

*Disclaimer* This article is kind of all over the place because frankly, this is the last thing this team needed and it’s just so frustrating to try to process this on top of the fun but challenging Michigan State football topics that I love to write on.

Now I have to write words about A) legal matters and B) another MSU scandal, neither of which are my forte, but it needs to be talked about. So, like a web browser with 1,000 tabs open, my mind will be in 1,000 different places trying to balance this and the season that still needs to be played on top of the hundreds of other things that come with life outside of writing about MSU athletics.

So without further ado, here’s my initial cathartic output about the Mel Tucker situation.

The unavoidable news coming out of Michigan State isn’t the 10-year anniversary of the Rose Bowl team. It’s not the top-10 Washington Huskies coming to town in prime time. It’s Tucker being selfish when every one associated with Michigan State University needed success this season. Every resource, a large contract, and a budding NIL foundation, and he decided to act extremely inappropriate with a woman who was already victimized years earlier.

It’s inexcusable, disgusting, and not fitting of someone I want running the football program of my alma mater. Mel needed this season, the players needed this season, and the fans needed this season.

In the wake of Larry Nassar, it wouldn’t be enough for Tucker to do nothing, he had to be an advocate and champion of the anti-sexual harassment movement. Bringing in Brenda Tracy was a perfect first step, and ironically his undoing.

Even harmless flirting with A) a rape survivor and B) a university vendor needs to be handled with extreme caution. This type of relationship as a married man with children should have been a non-starter.

Chalk up another black eye for the university. Get ready for the media to bring Nassar and the bogus Outside the Lines report and sexual assault being rampant at Michigan State even though an independent investigation said Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo handled everything correctly. I’m sure the Miles Bridges situation will somehow get brought up as well as Brock Washington. The damage has already been done and as sure as the sun rises in the morning, this has already become a PR nightmare for MSU administration.

Decision to let Mel Tucker keep coaching was iffy, at best

Look, the decision to allow Tucker to coach during the investigation is a messy one. Due do the nature of a Title IX investigation, the facts of the case were on a stringent need-to-know privacy policy and AD Alan Haller was not one of those people, although he knew a complaint had been filed. I find it hard that he’s allowed to bring Tucker into his office, tell him he’s suspended, and when Tucker asks why, Haller says “I’m not quite sure.” But I do have a big issue with Haller and interim president Teresa Woodruff only taking three questions. Show that you’re serious about this and answer the hard questions for once.

I’m so sick of being associated with a university that just can’t get it right.

It’s getting so hard to defend Michigan State when the administration leaves us as fans have to answer the hard questions from friends, family, and jerks on the internet. It gets more difficult when you have are asked about Nassar and the false ESPN reports and have the impossible task of explaining why you’re still a fan of the school despite all of their mistakes and shortcomings. It’s like sticking by your brother or sister after their fourth stint in rehab. You do it because there is love in your heart and despite shortcomings, which every person has, there is a part of you that sees the good in them, no matter what their actions say. Sure, there’s a part of me that knows things would have been easier if I had gone to Harvard or be a supermodel like I initially wanted, but my brain, face, and heart led me to Michigan State, and I’ll wear that badge until the day I die.

Mel Tucker does not represent the university as a whole. He is one man. I choose to view Michigan State as the 99 percent of students and alumni that make it feel like family with every interaction with a fellow Spartan.

There’s a high likelihood that the Michigan State football is going to regress for the next few years. Everything Tucker built and has been building towards has come crashing down. We now have a new coaching search, portal issues, recruiting issues, PR issues, and another dark cloud over the university. Let’s not let a small group of people ruin the bonds we have made because of this team and our time spent on campus.

I know we’re all exhausted because of this football team from last year, the entire offseason, this season’s expectations, and now this. Let’s focus on the coaches that can behave themselves, the players who will stick around even though they’ll be put in an impossible spot, and just try to get back to cheering on the team on the field.