SCASD Title IX Lawsuit Remains Without Resolution


The exterior of Pegula Ice Arena, where SCASD hockey teams hold practices and games.

Noah Radio, Staff Writer

The parent-run SCASD Ice Hockey Club and the school district have each been facing a Title IX lawsuit since May 2022, and both are still without resolutions. In April 2022, 30 boys and four girls tried out for the middle school club ice hockey team, but the final roster was created with 19 boys and zero girls. Shortly after, parents of Al Brooks, Quinn Hixon, and one other girl filed lawsuits against the club and the district.

Attorney Aaron Brooks argued for the plaintiffs that the district was in violation of Title IX, a law that states that sex-based discrimination in education programs or activities that receive federal dollars is prohibited. He brought up a solution that would create a second middle school team that had players and coaches already lined up.

The plaintiffs, Linnet and Aaron Brooks, Michael Lucy, Elizabeth Yoder, and Megan Abplanalp, say that they previously inquired with the ice hockey club about creating a second team, but were shut down. The district cited a lack of ice time at Pegula Ice Arena in their response.

One point the parents made regarding the denial of a second team, is that just two months after they were shut down, the creation of a junior varsity high school hockey team was announced.

According to Penn Live, the suit seeks at least $100,000 of damages and a declaration that the school district has Title IX responsibility for the hockey club in addition to the girls being rostered on a team.

In the lawsuit against the hockey club, the judge denied the preliminary injunction and ruled that a few complaints should be dropped from the case. The case is still ongoing and no settlement has been reached.

A preliminary injunction was issued in December by Judge Matthew W. Brann in the lawsuit against SCASD requiring that the girls be included on a team. He then ordered mediation between the plaintiffs and the district, which is still ongoing.

The response from SCASD was to create a second middle school hockey team that held tryouts in late January. They began practice in February and held just four on-ice practices. When questioned about the slow start of the team, SCASD spokesperson Chris Rosenblum said that the formation of a second team was a “complex matter with many moving parts” and that they were “doing everything possible to move through this process.”

As a result of these lawsuits, assistant athletic director Loren Crispell was appointed to manage club sports in the future. Crispell declined to comment in an email to the Centre Daily Times by writing, “Unfortunately, I am not able to comment on the second middle school hockey team, or what future oversight will look like at this time.” The school district also hired the independent law firm, Fox & Rothschild, to look at all SCASD sports and athletic clubs to make sure Title IX is being followed.

While the district has been working to update club sports policies, the two separate lawsuits are still in progress. The only change ordered by a court was in the federal lawsuit against SCASD ordering that the girls be rostered on a team club hockey team.

Multiple hockey players, one parent, and SCASD Title IX director Linda Pierce declined to comment due to ongoing litigation. State College Ice Hockey Club president Chrissie Ebeck provided information, but declined to comment due to the current litigation.