Outside The Lines published an investigation into the case of Arizona assistant track and field coach Craig Carter, who stalked, blackmailed, sexually harassed and abused, and physically threatened Arizona women’s track & field athlete Baillie Gibson, who competed for the Wildcats for five years. It is among the most unpleasant reports you’ll find, and is one worth reading in full.
Gibson, a Wyoming native, entered school as an Olympic hopeful and seemed to be on that path through her first two years. As a freshman in 2011, Gibson set the rookie discus record at Arizona, helping her earn All-America honors at season’s end—the same year, Carter was named national women’s assistant coach of the year by USA Track & Field. But come her sophomore year, Gibson suffered injuries and ended up redshirting, leading to her falling out of favor with Carter, who was already handling complaints of sexual harassment from other Arizona throwers.
After the collegiate season concluded and Gibson had returned to full strength, she participated in the 2012 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon—she finished 12th in discus and ninth in shot put. The final night that the athletes were in Eugene, Gibson, 20 years old at the time, went to a house party, where she “drank heavily.” Remembering Carter encouraged his athletes to call him if they needed a lift while out intoxicated, Gibson rang her coach. Her account of what occurred is below:
“I remember getting in the car, and then I don’t remember really what else happened,” Gibson says.
The next morning, Gibson says Carter showed her pictures he had taken on his phone of her naked and engaging in sexual acts with him in his car.
“I wanted to throw up,” Gibson says. “How could I do that? How does he have that?”
Gibson says Carter threatened to send the photos to her mother and father and post them on the internet. He also threatened her physically, she says, unless she submitted to his future sexual demands.
“He was going to post all of the pictures online so everyone could see what a whore I was,” Gibson says. “He just said that I would lose my scholarship and I would have all these pictures out and it was going to be bad if I said anything.”
According to OTL’s report, Carter used the photos to blackmail Gibson into what she said were dozens of sexual encounters in his office. Roughly a month after the initial alleged assault in Eugene, Gibson attempted to cut off the sexual abuse; Carter responded by threatening to send the photos to her family.
Carter refuted the report to OTL, saying that the act was consensual and pointing to sexual photos and videos Gibson sent him over the years as proof of this—Carter’s lawyer says this was an attempt by her to avoid having to meet with the coach.
Gibson was caught in his office with Carter multiple times in the fall of 2013, leading to a Nov. 13 meeting with then-Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne and head track and field coach Fred Harvey. Carter denied the allegations that he and Gibson were involved in a sexual or romantic relationship; according to OTL, there is no record of Byrne, Harvey, or any other Arizona staff member reaching out to Gibson, despite asking Carter what would happen if they asked her for her account.
The Office of Institutional Equity emailed Gibson the same day as Carter’s meeting and again 10 days later; she did not respond to either note. Gibson said that Carter threatened her after his meeting, telling her, “if I said anything, if they ever called me in or anything, he would kill me.”
Gibson says the abuse continued until April 2015, when she finally revealed to a teammate what had been going on between her and Carter. She went to Carter’s office on April 20 to inform him of this, and Carter responded by choking her and holding a a boxcutter to her neck before releasing her and threatening to cut his own throat when she tried to escape. Carter confirmed the account in an interview with OTL.
OTL’s story includes details from many more harrowing encounters between Carter and Gibson, including one text message Carter sent to Gibson after he attempted to enter her apartment. It shows Carter holding what appears to be a gun in his mouth.
On May 1, Gibson spoke with a university police officer, leading to Carter’s arrest later that day. He was indicted on four felony counts two weeks later and was released two weeks after that when he posted a $40,000 bond.
A civil lawsuit has since been filed by Gibson—then filed under “Jane Doe”—against Carter, Byrne, Harvey, the university, and the state of Arizona, alleging they failed protect her from “acts of rape, assault, inappropriate sexual conduct and abuse.”