Chicago Team Stripped of Little League Title

Jackie Robinson West used players from outside its geographical limits: league
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2015 10:10 AM CST
Chicago Team Stripped of Little League Title
In this Nov. 6, 2014, file photo, the Obamas pose with members of the Jackie Robinson West Little League team in the Oval Office.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

A Chicago Little League team crowned US champions must give up their title after officials found that they'd broken the rules. The league found that the Jackie Robinson West team included players who weren't from within established geographical boundaries, the Chicago Tribune reports. The team "used a falsified boundary map for their 2014 tournament," Little League International says after an "extensive review," noting that the team "knowingly violated" regulations. Now the team is on probation, and the runners-up—Las Vegas' Mountain Ridge Little League—get the title. "I don't believe (the kids) had anything to do with this. This was about the adults," says the parent of a Las Vegas team member. "I just pray those kids get past this."

The kids can take pride in what they "accomplished on the field, and the memories and lessons they have learned ... but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome," says the league's CEO, calling the move "heartbreaking." Still, "for more than 75 years, Little League has been an organization where fair play is valued over the importance of wins and losses." The team's manager is suspended, while a district administrator has been ousted, ESPN reports. A mother expresses her frustration to the Tribune: "Now my son has the mad face because he feels like he did something wrong, and he didn't." The team, the first all-African-American team to win the US championship, has been known for its sportsmanship, the Tribune notes. (More Little League stories.)

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