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Mel Tucker mentions Jim Harbaugh in statement about Brenda Tracy

Jim Harbaugh in Michigan gear

Aug 31, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh before the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Those who read the statement released by Mel Tucker’s attorney on Monday might be wondering one thing: What does Jim Harbaugh have to do with this?

Tucker’s attorney mentioned the coach of the rival Michigan Wolverines in Monday’s statement to defend the Michigan State coach against allegations from Brenda Tracy.

“She told me that I could trust her, and I proceeded to do just that,” Tucker said of Tracy in the statement. “I was absolutely unaware of the previous negative comments that she had made about iconic MSU coaches, then-President (John) Engler, MSU in general, and even her more recent criticism of Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, that I learned about during this investigation.”

Yes, in a lengthy statement where he shared his side of the story, Tucker also dragged Harbaugh into things.

That led many to wonder what Tracy had said about Harbaugh and what the Michigan coach did wrong.

Like Tucker, Harbaugh has had Tracy, on behalf of her “Set the Expectation” organization, speak to his football team. In 2019, Tracy even praised Harbaugh for committing to having her come in each year to speak to his team.

Harbaugh was asked early Monday about the situation between Tucker and Tracy. He declined to comment much, saying he didn’t know enough about the situation.

“Don’t know anything about it. I know Brenda Tracy. Respect her a lot. She’s done really good things, talked to our team. As far as — I’m not in a position to weigh in on it. Have no understanding or facts on the matter,” Harbaugh said.

Tracy even complimented Harbaugh on his stance.

So what criticism did Tracy have of Harbaugh? Perhaps the criticism is somewhere in the 1,200 pages of documentation Tracy gave to Michigan State in December when she filed her complaint about Tucker with the school.

Though she had worked with Michigan’s football team in 2018 and 2019, Tracy said via X this year that her communication with the Wolverines fell off in 2021. She learned in April 2022 of a 22-year-old woman who had died by an accidental drug overdose. The mother of the girl had partially blamed an alleged 2018 rape perpetrated by a Michigan football player on her daughter’s downward spiral that ultimately culminated with the girl’s death in 2021.

It’s unclear whether that incident is at the heart of Tracy’s alleged criticism of Harbaugh. But when faced with the opportunity to criticize Harbaugh via X on Monday, Tracy decided to praise him instead.


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