Outside the Lines reporter John Barr investigates the University of Arizona and its handling of a track and field coach’s abuse of power on this Sunday’s Outside the Lines (ESPN, 9 a.m. ET) and for a concurrent digital piece on ESPN.com.
Although he’s investigated hundreds of stories, Barr said this one was different.
“This is a story unlike any I’ve ever covered. Craig Carter was a former national assistant coach of the year for women’s track and field, and the way he behaved toward one of his athletes was startling,” Barr said. “Death threats, which he admits to, alleged stalking and a violent attack that is disturbing, to say the least, when you hear about it in detail.”
The footage obtained by Outside the Lines contains an interrogation with Carter where he admits in great detail how he threatened to disfigure student-athlete Baillie Gibson while holding a box cutter to her face.
Later details revealed that Gibson wasn’t the only woman who felt threatened by Carter.
“This is a story about a coach who crossed the line and lost control and a young athlete, whose athletic career was marred as a result and who now carries deep emotional scars,” Barr said. “Ultimately three women associated with the University of Arizona track and field team wound up taking out protective orders against Carter. They were all afraid of this man.”
Although this piece focuses on Carter’s abuse of power, Barr also wants viewers to consider the fact that this might have been prevented had the University of Arizona properly investigated the situation when it was brought to the attention of school officials.
“This is also a story about a school that could have acted sooner when it had credible information that Coach Carter may have been having sex with one of his athletes,” Barr said. “You couple all of that with the fact Baillie Gibson, a former All-American thrower for the Wildcats, an athlete who once had dreams of making the U.S. Olympic team, decided to be identified for the first time and speak in depth about her ordeal with Carter and it adds up to what we believe is a compelling story.”