The Little League team from the south side of Chicago who represented the United States in the Little League World Series championship game has been accused of cheating, according to DNA Chicago. The league allegedly changed their boundaries to include players from an area already used by another league.
Normally leagues can, and do frequently change their boundaries, however the changes must be approved by all leagues affected by the move, which allegedly did not happen in this case. The issue was brought up last week by the president of a rival league, and was investigated by Little League International, who said in a statement
“In advance of the 2014 season, Jackie Robinson West Little League made the decision to expand its boundaries … Working with the Illinois District 4 Administrator, the league submitted an approved, new boundary map to the Little League Regional Office, in effect for the 2014 season.”
However, the last time an approved changed occurred was before the 2013 season.
A shift was made in which the volunteer who is responsible for submitting paperwork to the national offices changed to Michael Kelly, a Chicago firefighter who told ESPN Radio Chicago that he coached in the league for 25 years, and served as the league’s vice president for 20 years before taking the position.
Kelly replaced Victor Alexander Sr., who resigned after five years because he refused to sign off on affidavits certifying player residency for Jackie Robinson West and “several leagues” in the district because certain players did not have proper paperwork showing they lived within league boundaries. “I had a rule: Paperwork had to be valid and submitted on time,” Alexander said. “It’s a stance I took and never backed away from.” Alexander said the Jackie Robinson West expansion described by Little League International “most definitely” encroached on other existing league boundaries.
In an email to a reporter, Little League International President and CEO Stephen Keener said he called a Friday morning meeting with top brass to again discuss the allegations levied against the U.S. champs.
“Speaking with Illinois District 4 officials over the last several days, we were able to once again confirm that not only was a new boundary map for Jackie Robinson West Little League drawn and submitted to the Regional Office through the appropriate process, but also the boundary maps for several other leagues in the District,” Keener wrote on Friday. “Also there were no protests or issues regarding the JRW team during its District 4 Tournament. That is where issues like this tend to rise most frequently.”
Further attempts by reporters to reach Keener were met with an automated message stating that he is unavailable due to vacation.