Jackie Robinson West is taking its ball and going home.
The youth team from the Chicago area, which was stripped of its U.S. title in February following allegations that it fielded players from outside its boundaries, has decided to withdraw from the Little League organization.
Instead, the team will join the Cal Ripken division of Babe Ruth League, which doesn't follow the same borders, allowing Jackie Robinson West's team to remain intact.
"It's largely based on the disregard and disrespect shown by Little League that had a 43-year-old relationship with Jackie Robinson West," spokesman Glenn Harston told the Chicago Tribune.
Jackie Robinson West became a national sensation when the all-black team from Chicago advanced to the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.
Jackie Robinson West beat Las Vegas Mountain Ridge, 7-5, for the U.S. title and the right to play in the final. There, the team was defeated by South Korea, 8-4, and six months later it lost its U.S. title.
"For more than 75 years, Little League has been an organization where fair play is valued over the importance of wins and losses," Little League International CEO Stephen D. Keener said in a statement announcing the deciscion to strip the team of its title. "This is a heartbreaking decision. 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."
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