University of Virginia Lacrosse Player's Death Plays Out in Public

Cottle noted that in some of the big hotbeds of the game, like Washington DC and Baltimore, the top teams are private schools but in areas like Long Island and upstate New York, the public school teams dominate.

Carpenter said the notion that the game is played just by "rich white kids at prep schools is so outdated."

"That overlooks the fact that over the past fifteen years the game has additionally been latched onto within every state and every demographic," he said. "Of course the people who played the sport then are still playing now. It's just expanded. Gone are the days when every roster was loaded with prep school players from Baltimore and New England"

Christian Cook played at powerhouse Princeton in the late 1990s but he started out playing the sport in high school in Denver, which back then was not the hotbed it is now. Cook points to programs like Winners Lacrosse program, a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 to bring lacrosse to youths in underserved communities, as ways that the game is expanding and potentially erasing the stereotype.

Do Athletes Get in More Trouble, Commit More Crimes Than Their Peers on Campus?

Beyond the debate over the accuracy of stereotypes of athletes is perhaps the more critical discussion about athletes, crime and violence as Huguely's own criminal past comes to light.

"They travel in packs and herds so they're noticed when they do something wrong and noticed when they do something right," Cottle said of college athletes.

According to Richard Lapchick, the founder of the Center for Sport in Society at Northeastern University, "There has never been a thorough, scientific study conclusively showing that athletes are more inclined than others to commit assaults."

Jarrod Chin, the Director for Violence Prevention and Diversity at the Center for Sport in Society, said crimes involving athletes earn greater attention and notoriety because of their profiles on campus.

"On a college campus you know who the athletes are. If a non-athlete is going out there and getting into fights on weekends, that is not going to make the paper unless it makes the police report," Chin said. "You could go out on a college campus on any weekend and probably see a bunch of fights but it's that one time a college athlete engages in violent behavior that people point and say, oh athletes are more violent."

Chin said the focus needs to be less on Huguely as an athlete who allegedly committed a crime and more on Huguely as a man allegedly committing a crime against a woman.

Tragedy Casts Dark Cloud Over Lacrosse Community

The murder of one of its own has cast yet another black cloud over the sport, according to several people in the lacrosse community.

Cottle lamented the fact that the negative too quickly outweighs any positives.

"You do 300 hours of community service isn't on the front page of the paper," he said. "You hurt somebody , it's on the front page and that's just the way it is. I think there's an awful lot of good things going on in the community shared by lacrosse teams."

Cook acknowledged the negative press but said he does not see this incident as a "lacrosse-specific problem."

"I still think that it's a couple terrible situations that have happened that have highlighted this sport that unfortunately all the positive things that people do on a daily basis that are involved in this sport – those just don't get coverage," he said.

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