Little League International has announced plans to dissolve the six-team district that housed Jackie Robinson West after the district’s administrator was removed following an investigation into residency violations by the JRW team.
Mike Kelley was removed from his position in District 4 after officials said he took part in an alleged cheating controversy with JRW, which has since been stripped of its championship title.
“After a thorough review of operations within Illinois District 4 and in consultation with local volunteers, the Little League International Charter Committee has decided to dissolve Illinois District 4 and assign the leagues that were previously a part of the district to neighboring Little League Districts,” Little League spokesman Brian McClintock said in a statement.
Under the new boundaries, the Near South, Bronzeville and Jackie Robinson West teams will join Illinois District 12 and South Side, Roseland and Rosemoore leagues will move to District 7.
“This decision allows the local Little League programs in the area to continue with their operations under veteran, established district leadership and to continue to provide quality Little League experiences for the children in their communities,” McClintock said.
The move comes hours after Jackie Robinson West announced that it may leave Little League International to join the Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth League. The new league offers similar services as Little League International, the team said.
Earlier, DNAInfo.com reported District 4 league officials were against dissolving the district and instead wanted a new administrator for the area. Roseland Little League President Maurice Johnson told the website “If they split us up, Roseland is no longer with Little League.”
When officials first announced the league’s decision to strip the little leaguers of their title, they also suspended the team’s manager Darold Butler and removed Kelley from his position.
McClintock said an investigation revealed that Butler and Kelly knowingly violated rules by using a falsified boundary map for their 2014 tournament and used players who didn't qualify because they lived outside the team's actual boundaries.
Jackie Robinson West officials have previously denied the team violated any residency rules or recruited outside players.