Michigan State must reveal documents tied to Mel Tucker’s contract

MSU football coach Mel Tucker keeps chopping on the sideline against Indiana. Photo: Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire, via Getty Images

Michigan State improperly shielded details of its deals with boosters who helped fund football coach Mel Tucker’s $95 million contract, a state judge ruled Monday.

  • The university must hand over the documents — with home addresses and estate-planning information blacked out — to the Detroit Free Press next week.

Why it matters: The ruling was a victory for government transparency and a reminder to powerful institutions that the state’s Freedom of Information Act requires disclosure of public records.

Catch up quick: Catch up quick: After news spread that boosters Mat Ishbia and Steve St. Andre helped pay for Tucker’s historic 10-year contract last year, the Free Press filed a FOIA request to obtain the gift agreements.

  • MSU denied the request, arguing it fell under the FOIA’s privacy exemption.
  • The Free Press then south of the university to release the records.

Between the lines: Between the lines: Judge Brock Swartzle, who heard oral arguments in October, was not convinced that the agreements are entirely private because they contain personal and financial information.

  • Nor was he swayed by MSU’s reasoning that the donors expected the agreements to remain private.

What they’re saying: “MSU cannot avoid FOIA by promising greater confidentiality than it can lawfully provide as a public institution,” Swartzle’s ruling reads.

The intrigue: The documents are expected to reveal the amounts Ishbia and St. Andre donated and how they wanted the money spent.


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