Jackie Robinson West players' residency in question, Little League says

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Little League investigates JRW residency
The Jackie Robinson West team is being investigated by Little League International over the residency of some of the team's players.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Jackie Robinson West baseball team that brought the city together this summer is accused of stacking the team with players from the suburbs.

Little League International is investigating the claims that JRW violated the residency rules by adding suburban players to its roster.

JRW made national and international headlines last August when the team won the national championship, becoming Chicago's Champs. They fell to South Korea in the world championship game. But now, two teams that lost to JRW say they should be stripped of their title.

"I don't think that they should just hand the title to Las Vegas. I think that Las Vegas and the Taney Dragons should have to play another game. I don't care if they play in the snow or when. I think we're ready to play," said Erik Lipson, the father of a Philadelphia player.

The red flag was first raised by Chris Janes, vice president of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association, another South Side league.

"Prior to us going public, we continued to dig privately behind the scenes. The last thing we wanted to do is make an accusation and feel like we could possibly be wrong," he said. "This is a tough accusation."

Janes said after going through public records, including voter and vehicle registrations, he concluded some of JRW's players were from the suburbs. In November, a spokesperson from the Little League World Series said JRW players complied with the residency and enrollment regulations and the case was closed, but could reopen with new evidence.

Allegations persisted and Little League World officials came to Chicago to investigate. A meeting was held in Pennsylvania on Tuesday to discuss the findings, which are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

"I don't think it reflects on the kids at all. I think what Little League baseball is wrestling with is the precedent of allowing kids from outside that district to play for a team," said Tom Farrey, ESPN correspondent.

In the past, Jackie Robinson West team officials have denied bending boundary rules. But on the eve of Little League's decision, they're not talking.