If you have not read about the background to the headlines today regarding the suspension of Michigan State head football coach, Mel Tucker, click here for a summary of the alleged slimy situation.
According to this report, an investigation has been underway since December; a report based on that investigation was delivered in July and there will be a “formal hearing” in early October. Without knowing anything about the content of that investigative report I have to ask why suspend Tucker now as opposed to sometime within 72 hours after the report was delivered? If there was sufficient content in the report to cause sufficient concern in the administrative sphere of Michigan State University, then why the delay?
Look, the allegations and the scenario described here are bizarre even by sexual harassment standards. Moreover, from a financial standpoint, Tucker would have to be dumber than burnt toast to have done something like this that could jeopardize his contract with Michigan State. According to reports, he signed a deal in November 2021 that made him the head football coach at Michigan State for 10 years at a fully guaranteed value of $95M. “Fully guaranteed” in this context means he gets the money unless he does something that allows the university to “fire him for cause” – – sort of like doing what he is accused of doing in this case.
Since the “formal hearing” is scheduled for early October, I presume that means a decision will be forthcoming from the folks who convene that “formal hearing” and that would indicate to me that this is not a criminal procedure where guilt must be shown “beyond a reasonable doubt”. If that logic holds, I will be surprised if Mel Tucker comes out of that hearing exonerated. Remember, Michigan State is the university that harbored Larry Nasser as a serial sex abuser for years and years despite complaints from female athletes. The two cases/situations have nothing to do with each other – – but the overhang is there, and it is real.
Assuming Tucker’s contract is linear – – he is supposed to get $9.5M per year for 10 years – – he is almost two years into the deal. That means he still has about $76M guaranteed left on that tab. My guess is that there will be lots of legal wrangling over a settlement figure that will make the University look virtuous and will make Tucker set for the rest of his life because he will never – – as in not ever – – see a coaching deal anywhere near this dimension again. I am not saying he will never coach again; too many coaches with sordid events in their lives resurface in the football world; however, none of them wind up with a 10-year contract fully guaranteed at $95M.
The accuser in this case is the survivor of a gang-rape and a sexual harassment activist. My guess is that she and her legal representatives will be part of the financial negotiations here and that her non-profit entity that seeks to change the culture in ways that will prevent sexual assaults will be a beneficiary of such negotiations.
In my College Football predictions for the upcoming season less than a month ago, I said Mel Tucker was on a hot seat – – having exactly nothing to do with this matter because I knew nothing about it at the time. The fact that he is only 18-14 in his time at Michigan State going into this year is not going to have lots of big money boosters whispering in the ear of the university honchos to “go easy” on our coach because he wins on Saturday afternoons. I will be surprised if Mel Tucker is the coach at Michigan State beyond Halloween.
But there is a cautionary tale here for Michigan State. Mel Tucker was hired in a brief frenzy of searching when the previous coach resigned without a lot of notice. When Michigan State beat Michigan, euphoria was the order of the day and out came that 10-year and $95M fully guaranteed deal. Well, the same folks who hired Tucker and the same folks who influenced his hiring by funding that contract are the ones who will pick the next guy. And we wonder why history has a habit of repeating itself …
Moving on … More than occasionally, I run across a headline indicating that someone has “done a study” and drawn some conclusions from data derived from that study. Generally, those headlines elicit one of three reactions:
- Wow, that sounds interesting; let me read about what they did and how they did it.
- Wow, that sounds like something I really do not care about
- Well, duh; I hope that effort did not take long or cost very much.
Option #3 was in play when I read this headline:
“Study: College Students Who Tailgate More Likely to Abuse Alcohol, Use Cannabis”
Here are summaries of the “methodology” and the conclusions of that study conducted at Texas A&M” School of Public health:
“Researchers surveyed 816 students, asking them whether they had participated in pregaming before a live sporting event in the previous year and collected data on their substance use in addition to important demographic information such as gender, race and ethnicity, classification in school, and Greek organization affiliation.”
“Throughout the nation, students come to large campuses in the fall and immerse themselves in their college’s sport culture. Some gameday cultures may lead to a perceived view of alcohol use around campus that normalizes the behavior. This sends mixed messages to students on campus about alcohol use policies and further complicates a university’s aim to protect the health and well-being of their students.”
It is interesting that the researchers did not seem to collect demographic information about the age of the students doing the drinking/smoking. Even without any data or study on my part, I would go out on a limb and say that some of those drinkers/smokers are underage in addition to all the other conclusions drawn here.
Finally, since several readers have commented favorably on previous reviews of actresses by John Simon – – aka The Vicar of Vitriol – – let me close with another one today:
“Linda Blair, not a very talented or prepossessing youngster then, is even less interesting now, though considerably more bovine; I doubt whether a post-pubertal acting style can be made out of mere chubbiness.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………