Little League Baseball has vacated the Chicago-based Jackie Robinson West team’s wins for the 2014 season, including their U.S. championship, for allegedly using players outside the geographic area they were supposed to represent.
The title now reverts to the Mountain Ridge Little League of Las Vegas.
Jackie Robinson West was the first all African American team to win the U.S. crown and then make it all the way to the World Championship before falling to South Korea. The group was honored by President Obama at the White House. But, in Wednesday’s announcement, Little League said that the team used players from outside its district, falsified boundary maps and met with other teams in the area to try to gain territory.
“This is a heartbreaking decision,” said Stephen Keener, Little League International president and CEO in a statement. “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.”
The league suspended team manager Darold Butler from Little League activity and removed the district administrator Michael Kelly from his position.
This is only the third time in Little League’s 68-year history that a team has been stripped of its wins. The first instance was in 1992 with the disqualification of the team from Zamboanga, Philippines, and then again in 2001 with Rolando Paulino Little League of Bronx, N.Y.