Should U.S. Little League Champion Have Been Stripped of Title? [Poll]
The Little League International Committee says that the Jackie Robinson West Little League and Illinois District 4 knowingly violated Little League rules by placing players on their team who did not qualify to play because they lived outside the team’s boundaries.
The team has been stripped of its tournament wins, including the Great Lakes Regional and United States championships.
Should the team have been allowed to keep it’s championships?
Little League has also suspended team manager, Darold Butler, and removed Illinois District 4 Administrator Michael Kelly from his position.
Jackie Robinson West Little League is on probation with no tournament privileges until a new president and treasurer are in place and the league is fully compliant with all rules.
Jackie Robinson West Little League intentionally used a falsified boundary map and met with other leagues in Illinois District 4 to try to get the territory they wrongfully claimed was theirs for their 2014 tournament.
This isn’t the first time Little League officials have taken away wins and championships. In 1992, Little League baseball took away the title from Zamboanga, Philippines after it was discovered that they used players that lived out of their district or were overage. In 2001, a team from New York forfeited games due to an overage player.
Stephen D. Keener, Little League International President and CEO said, “For more than 75 years, Little League has been an organization where fair play is valued over the importance of wins and losses. This is a heartbreaking decision. What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome.”
I could not have said it better myself.
It is the actions of adults and their decision to knowingly break the rules that is the issue. The kids will still hold onto great memories, but allowing the actions of the adults to go without consequence would send the wrong message.
Fair play is more important than winning. The Little League International Committee’s actions help to reinforce that message to coaches and players across the country.
No doubt, the ruling upsets many and some are upset with Little League officials, but it’s the team’s own coaches and local league who are to blame.