Paula Lavigne

Paula Lavigne

Investigative Reporter

As part of ESPN’s investigative unit since 2008, Paula Lavigne has reported on a variety of stories in sports at all levels from youth sports to college and professional teams and to international competitions. Her work appears on multiple ESPN platforms for digital, television and audio.

She has investigated sexual assault, gender equity and Title IX failures in college athletics programs. Her skills in acquiring and mining public records and data have led to deep dives into analyzing crimes among professional and college athletes, fan food safety at professional ballparks, fraudulent pro-athlete charities, imbalances in gender equity, compromised athlete medical care, and college sports finances.

Lavigne received a Sports Emmy and Investigative Reporters and Editors finalist award for her role in working alongside reporter Tom Junod in investigating a Penn State football player who was a serial rapist and murderer, which led to the digital story “Untold” and film “Betsy & Irv.”

She received a George Foster Peabody Award for her work investigating sexual assaults within Michigan State athletics, an Alfred I duPont-Columbia University Award for an investigation on a youth football gambling ring, and multiple Investigative Reporters and Editor awards, two other Sports Emmy nominations, three New York International TV & Film Awards and two Gracie Awards for other stories.

Her reporting on the years-long investigation and federal criminal case involving bribery in college basketball led to the production of the ESPN 30 for 30 podcast “The Bag Game.”

Lavigne and her colleagues also investigated the murder of former University of Miami football player Bryan Pata – and filed a public records lawsuit to open up the police report – and about a year after publishing the story, police made an arrest in the then 15-year-old case.

In addition to her role at ESPN, Lavigne is also the co-author “Violated: Exposing Rape at Baylor University Amid College Football’s Sexual Assault Crisis” a book she and senior writer Mark Schlabach wrote about Baylor University and its handling of sexual violence among students.

Before joining ESPN, Lavigne worked as a reporter and data analyst for the Des Moines Register, the Dallas Morning News, and the News-Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, and she has an expertise in data journalism and using FOIA and public records laws. She earned a bachelor’s of journalism degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MBA from Creighton University, and is a frequent speaker at journalism symposiums and conferences.

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