Secretly, the grossest thing about this Mel Tucker scandal — outside of all the unverifiable tips being sent to the Deadspin general email — is that Michigan State might actually benefit from its own incompetence. Tucker would be owed an $80 million buyout if he were fired for being an abhorrent football coach as opposed to just an (allegedly) abhorrent human being.
A sexual misconduct case gives Sparty the ammo to let go of its struggling coach with cause, and not have to pony up the cash for its embarrassing mistake.
The Title IX complaint against Tucker was filed in December after the Spartans finished a 5-7 season, and if the Michigan State brass had any foresight, morals, or common sense they would’ve leaped at the opportunity to dismiss Tucker then. Now, 10 months later, there should be questions about who’s in charge, how this kind of stuff keeps happening in East Lansing, and who should get to pick the next football coach.
This week, interim university president Teresa Woodruff and other MSU officials said they didn’t have specific details of the incident until early Sunday, and I haven’t heard an excuse that feeble since Tucker tried to pin the mishandling of a concussed player on his medical staff two weeks ago. Allegations of the #MeToo nature are always serious, and the only way to approach them is in a proactive manner.
Waiting for someone else to turn over the rock because you’re afraid to look under it is cowardice to the fullest extent, and Michigan State should have to pay someone $80 million as a result of its inaction. Obviously, Tucker doesn’t deserve a dime, but perhaps a nonprofit supporting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence could use a new facility?
The school allegedly had to solicit money from wealthy alumni — including Phoenix Suns owner Matt Ishbia — when MSU was in negotiations with Tucker for his record contract extension two years ago, and I desperately want to live in a world where consequences exist for powerful people, and companies.
Michigan State is every bit a for-profit organization, and like any other company facing allegations of fostering, or enabling, predatory behavior, is running the scandal playbook of shirking responsibility, and attributing the behavior to a couple of bad apples acting independently. At most, the school will lose a lawsuit, and have to allocate some of the cash it’s printing elsewhere, only marginally disrupting the machine.
In trying to convince the public that the institution is turning over a new leaf, and putting the “MSU of old” in the rearview, the bozos in charge brought back Mark Dantonio. The former Spartan coach also has a history of botching sexual misconduct allegations, and you literally cannot make this stuff up.
The Spartans visit Washington on Saturday, a team that kicked in its teeth last year, and are 16 points dogs. That line likely would’ve been vastly closer if the team didn’t have an interim head coach in Week 3 of the season, but that’s where Michigan State is at right now.
I guess a lost season led by a guy who hasn’t coached in four years is technically a punishment, but getting to hit the reset button, without having to pay for it, is a luxury very few colleges are afforded, and Michigan State should not be so lucky.