Little League Dissolves Jackie Robinson West District After Baseball Recruitment Scandal – BuzzFeed News
Little League has elected to re-allocate the six Chicago teams in Illinois District 4 instead of finding new league leadership.
The fallout from Jackie Robinson West recruiting players from outside their designated boundaries continues a month after the team was stripped of their title as U.S. Little League World Series Champions.
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In the aftermath of Little League’s investigation into the recruiting practices, District 4 leader Mike Kelley was removed from his position. Team president Anne Haley and treasurer Bill Haley were also removed from their positions.
Now, Little League has decided to disband the six-team district instead of searching for new leadership.
Four teams, including Jackie Robinson West, could be relegated to a district that includes teams on the North and West sides of Chicago, while the remaining two teams would be relegated to another district on the city’s South Side.
In a statement, Little League spokesman Brian McClintock said:
This decision allows the local Little League programs in the area to continue with their operations under veteran, established district leadership and to continue to provide quality Little League experiences for the children in their communities.
However, DNAinfo Chicago reports that Bill Haley is looking into transitioning the Jackie Robinson West team out of Little League into nearby Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth leagues. DNAinfo also spoke with another District 4 team, Roseland, whose president Maurice Johnson said, “If they split us up, Roseland is no longer with Little League.”
The Ripken and Ruth leagues are less strict with their recruiting boundaries, and DNA info Chicago reports that if Jackie Robinson West is approved by either of these youth leagues, Haley would be at a strong advantage for recruiting players from the South Side.
An attorney for Jackie Robinson West, Victor Henderson, who did not respond to a BuzzFeed News request for comment, told the Chicago Tribune that the team felt disrespected by Little League’s decision to announce the vacation of the team’s World Series wins to the media without informing them first.
He continued, “This insensitive act by Little League International is a critical factor affecting JRW’s decision to explore other opportunities.”