CHICAGO -- Jackie Robinson West is fighting to keep its national title.
In February, Little League stripped JRW of its title amidst accusations of residency rule violations.
On Wednesday, the team's attorney, Victor Henderson, has filed a lawsuit in the hopes of getting Little League International to answer some questions. He also released a 97 page report that raises issues about how the situation was handled.
The players and coaches were in attendance, but did not speak.
Little League International released a statement that said:
Little League International was made aware from media reports of a petition filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County pursuit to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 224 by the attorney for Jackie Robinson West League officials. As we have not had the opportunity to review the petition, it would be inappropriate to comment on it specifically.In response to reports from the select media that were permitted to attend today’s public announcement by the Jackie Robinson West League legal representation, Little League takes all matters of eligibility seriously. All 152 teams participating in the 16 Little League Baseball Regional Tournaments in 2014 underwent the same eligibility verification process. This process takes place prior to the start of each level of play of Little League International Tournament, not before every game, which was mentioned.According to the Little League Rules and Regulations for Baseball Divisions (page T-2; 2014 edition), the Charter/Tournament Committee reserves the right to impose any penalties it deems appropriate, if the committee determines action is necessary to correct a situation brought to its attention, regardless of the source of that information. After receiving emailed allegations, and through subsequent media reports, claims were made that Jackie Robinson West League falsified boundary maps and attempted to claim territory from neighboring leagues months after the conclusion of the 2014 Little League Baseball World Series. This was disclosed by local Little League programs within Chicago during meetings with Illinois District 4 leagues on January 31, 2014. Throughout the entire process, Little League International staff was in regular contact with Jackie Robinson West League Official, Bill Haley, about these numerous allegations. Ultimately, the Little League Charter/Tournament Committee found that Jackie Robinson West League violated Little League regulations by falsifying portions of its Tournament Eligibility Affidavit, and used past-precedent in determining the disciplinary action.The decision of the Tournament Committee is final and binding, however, within each Charter Agreement signed by local league officials, leagues are informed of the process to a review of disciplinary action by the Tournament Committee. Little League’s counsel has presented Jackie Robinson West counsel with documents as it pertains to the Little League Charter/Tournament Committee’s decision. Jackie Robinson West has also been advised numerous times of the opportunity to have an official, in-person review of this decision with the Charter/Tournament Committee, but, as of this date, has declined to do so.Little League is rooted in fair play, and we appreciate that during the public announcement counsel acknowledged that Jackie Robinson West made mistakes.As we prepare for a great 2015 Little League International Tournament season, we are looking ahead to providing a fun, competitive environment for all children currently participating in the Little League program.