EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Breaking media coverage of sexual harassment allegations against Michigan State University football coach Mel Tucker has been followed by the university’s announcement of Tucker’s suspension from the program in a news conference Sunday.

6 News reporters confirmed ahead of the news conference Sunday that the details of the allegations, as reported in USA Today, are accurate.

USA Today reported shortly after midnight Sunday that Tucker is the subject of an ongoing investigation within MSU’s Title IX office, since university contractor, educator and rape survivor Brenda Tracy filed a complaint against Tucker with that office in December 2022, as confirmed by 6 News reporters.

“According to her complaint, [during a phone call on April 28, 2022] Tracy sat frozen for several minutes while Tucker made sexual comments about her and masturbated,” wrote USA Today reporter Kenny Jacoby in the breaking story. Tracy told Jacoby that the incident had triggered memories from her 1998 rape by four men, two of which were Oregon State University football players.

Tucker had acknowledged in statements to the Title IX investigator that he had masturbated while on the phone with Tracy, but that in those same statements, he chalked up the encounter to consensual “phone sex.”

In her report, Tracy also cited multiple other incidents of misconduct in 2021 and 2022.

After MSU’s 5 p.m. news conference on Sunday, Athletic Director Alan Haller said the university had suspended Coach Tucker without pay, pending the results of an outside investigation into the allegations. Haller announced at the same news conference that secondary coach Harlon Barnett would take over as interim head coach, while former head coach Mark Dantonio would return to the program, though Dantonio’s intended role is not yet declared.

Tracy visited MSU at least three times as an educator, beginning in 2021, including the time she was recognized as an honorary captain at an MSU spring football game. A rape survivor, Tracy is the founder of the organization Set the Expectation, which works with men and organizations to advocate for an end to gender-based violence and inequality.

Tracy was paid by MSU as an independent contractor, to provide anti-sexual assault and anti-rape education, at the time that her alleged conversations with Tucker occurred.

USA Today reported that Tucker told the university’s investigator, “[Tracy] held a vendetta against Spartan athletics because of its history of sexual misconduct scandals and falsely accused him for financial gain.”

Though documents show Tracy reported the incident to MSU’s Title IX office in December 2022, Michigan State University only publicly responded to the allegations and acted to suspend Coach Tucker after the story broke in USA Today this Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023.

Haller said in the news conference Sunday that he had not immediately suspended Tucker in July when a Title IX attorney’s investigation into the allegations had concluded. He said the university was constantly monitoring what “interim measures” were necessary based on evolving information. He declined to explain what had changed since July 25 when the investigatory report was completed, Sunday evening. A hearing set for Oct. 5-6 will determine whether or not Tucker violated MSU’s sexual harassment and exploitation policy.

Haller said Sunday the university’s previous interim measures included a no-contact order with Tracy and Haller’s increased oversight of Tucker and the program.

Tracy’s attorney, Karen Truszkowski, has declined to comment on the record at this time.

6 News will provide further updates as the story develops.

USA Today and The Associated Press contributed to this story.