Sharon Love's lawsuit states that coaches and administrators did nothing to discipline or treat Huguely after the arrests and subsequent convictions. It also points out that a "sparingly played" lacrosse athlete — unlike Huguely, who was a key player — was suspended from the team after being arrested for drinking and driving, though the document doesn't explain how coaches found out about the infraction.

Elliott M. Buckner, Sharon Love's lawyer, declined to comment on any aspect of the 15-page lawsuit, including why women's lacrosse coaches weren't included. The document was filed May in Virginia against the state, athletic director Craig Littlepage, head men's lacrosse coach Dom Starsia and associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale.

It outlines escalating alcohol abuse and various instances of violence involving Huguely, including accusations that he choked Love, and once gave a teammate a concussion while drunk and angry that the young man "had been seen with" Love. That incident was brought to the attention of coaches, who "talked to both players," the lawsuit said.

"It was well known to the players and coaches on the UVA men's and women's lacrosse teams that Huguely's alcohol abuse and erratic, aggressive behavior was increasingly getting out of control," the civil suit claims, "especially his obsession with Love and his aggressiveness and threats to Love."

In late April, a few months after Huguely was convicted of second-degree murder in her daughter's death, Sharon Love filed a $29.5 million civil lawsuit against him, followed by the lawsuit against the state and coaches a week later.

Brian J. Gottstein, a spokesman for the Virginia attorney general's office, said state lawyers plan to "vigorously defend" the coaches.

"While we certainly recognize the terrible loss suffered by the Love family," Gottstein said in an emailed statement, "that loss was not caused by the [state] or anyone employed at the University of Virginia."

Timothy L. Epstein, a Chicago-based sports lawyer, said it would be a "tough case" for Sharon Love to make.

"Having some understanding of a volatile relationship that a student-athlete has with someone not on the team is a far cry from having knowledge of actual harm threatened or soon to be realized," he said.

Coaches' responsibilities toward their athletes vary from school to school, with some institutions laying them out in thick instruction manuals and others providing just a handful of guidelines. Few institutions contacted by The Baltimore Sun were willing to discuss the issue, given the recent lawsuit against Virginia, however.

Morgan State University officials did not respond to interview requests. And officials at Towson, Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland declined to be interviewed on the topic, though the University of Maryland did provide a copy of its student athlete code of conduct.

"All student athletes are expected to conduct themselves both on and off the field in a manner that will bring respect to their teammates, coaches and university," the 65-page code states, putting the onus on coaches and administrators to "set the tone for responsible behavior."

The document covers a wide range of behavior, right down to what's appropriate for a Tweet or Facebook page, asking students to consider whether a post passes "the publicity test."

Coaches are increasingly being told to monitor their players' social media accounts for signs of misbehavior — which was endorsed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in a March report.

Nicole M. LaVoi, associate director for the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota, said it's fair for coaches to scrutinize their players' actions and be held accountable for them. She noted that the environment developed by team leaders "definitely influences athlete behavior," whether it be for better or worse.

"The thing is with Millennial [generation] parents," LaVoi said, "they're very involved in the lives of their children, especially for white, middle-to-upper-class parents, and ... when they go off to college and something bad happens, then the parents want to blame the coach and the administration."

Lauren Paul, who grew up in Reisterstown, was the women's lacrosse coach at Franklin & Marshall until her firing last month. In a letter to the campus community, college President Daniel R. Porterfield linked her termination to "an investigation into a hazing event" that occurred in the spring of 2011.

F&M spokeswoman Cass Cliatt declined to discuss the details but said that coaches are educators who are expected to impart certain "universal lessons."

"We stress at F&M that all coaches have a responsibility to educate about leadership, fostering a supporting community and specifically the prohibition against hazing," Cliatt wrote in a lengthy emailed statement.

Paul's Paoli, Pa.-based lawyer, John A. Gallagher, who also represents two assistant coaches in the matter, said his clients are baffled by its handling.

"The school has made clear that it is aware that the coaches did not play, participate in or have any knowledge of the alleged hazing incident, yet for reasons that remain quite unclear, they have nevertheless been terminated," said Gallagher, who is in the process of "examining a variety of legal claims against the college."

Cozzillio, the Widener law professor, called the F&M situation a "classic example" of holding a coach accountable for her players.

"Part of me says that's terrific: If people occupy the position of mentor, we should make sure they're watching our kids," he said. "But I'm not sure it's totally fair to coaches, especially where the coaches have no knowledge of, or direct involvement in, the player's activity."

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