Little League strips Chicago’s championship team of title for violating residency rules
Officials say last summer’s Little League World Series national championship team, Jackie Robinson West, added top suburban players in violation of residency rules.
The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Jackie Robinson West, the Chicago Little League team that won the U.S. Championship, was stripped of its title Wednesday morning when officials determined the team violated residency rules by using players from other Little League districts.
“After an extensive review of the operations of Jackie Robinson West Little League and Illinois District 4, the Little League International Charter/Tournament Committee has determined that the Jackie Robinson West Little League and Illinois District 4 Administrator knowingly violated Little League International Rules and Regulations by placing players on their team who did not qualify to play because they lived outside the team’s boundaries,” said a statement released by Little League.
“Little League International found that Jackie Robinson West Little League used a falsified boundary map for their 2014 tournament, and that Jackie Robinson West Little League officials met with other leagues in Illinois District 4 to try to get the territory they wrongfully claimed was theirs for their 2014 tournament.”
The statement said the team was stripped of all of its wins from the 2014 tournament, including its win in the Great Lakes Regional, and that Jackie Robinson West would not be allowed to participate in future tournament play until “such a time that new leadership in the positions of President, Anne Haley, and Treasurer, Bill Haley, have been elected or appointed, and that the league is fully compliant with all Little League International Regulations.”
Late last year, the organization said it was confident that there were no violations of residency regulations after investigating allegations made by an official from a suburban Chicago league that some of Jackie Robinson West’s players live in suburbs with already-established Little League teams. It said it would the investigation if necessary.
On Tuesday, spokesman Brian McClintock said the organization had received “new information” that prompted further review of the allegations. He would not elaborate.
Jackie Robinson West officials did not immediately respond to an email for comment but league officials have denied the team violated any residency rules, and that none of the players was recruited. The allegations were first reported by DNAinfo.com.
The stirring run to the Little League World Series by the all-black team captured national attention and united Chicago, which remains one of the nation’s most segregated cities. The Cubs watched JRW play during a rain delay and cheered them on while Mayor Rahm Emanuel organized all-city watch parties. The Rev. Jesse Jackson even announced that his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition would take the boys to Disney World.
After falling to South Korea in the world championship game, Jackie Robinson West was feted with a parade and a visit to the major league World Series and the White House, where they met President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.