Little League Requiring Criminal Background Checks

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Little League Requiring Criminal Background Checks?

On Wednesday, the Little League International made an announcement that they would require mandatory criminal background checks for its volunteer coaches. The league has also set new standards for eligibility among the players as well as a host of new rules designed to boost the pace of the sport.

  • During the regular-season games, the local leagues will have the choice to force the batters to keep one foot in the batter's box.
  • Intentional walks by announcing the decision to the umpire will be allowed instead of the usual throwing of four balls.
  • Umpires will have the power to eject a player or a manager who are determined to be stealing signs.


More importantly, part of the changes is the mandatory requirement of nationwide background checks for the coaches and all individuals involved with running or managing teams. The checks will include that of the sex offender registry data as well as other criminal records.

Little League stated that no local league shall allow any individual to participate – in any manner – whose background checks will reveal any crime involving minors whether it is an admission, conviction, or a guilty or no contest plea.

Nearly two years since a residency scandal had cost the national title of Chicago-based Jackie Robinson West, the Little League has also made amendments on its eligibility rules. Under the new rules, instead of a school report card, school enrollment forms and documents from each of the three categories of residency will be required as proofs of residence.

Little League will, however, continue to use the same 17 accepted documents as proof of residency despite eliminating the report card to prove residency. In addition to the birth certificate and the school enrolment form, three other proofs of residency documents are required. These include tax records, employment records and utility bills. To ensure that the forms really come from multiple origins, the Little League has also published on their website that it will be placing each documents into different categories and they will require one from each of the category.

It can be recalled that in Jackie Robinson West's case, Little League court filings stated that the original league boundary map that the team has submitted during the tournament play was accurate and correctly reflect the league boundaries. The original map submitted showed only five out of the total team players lived within the boundaries. However, according to the court, on the maps which Jackie Robinson West has submitted later on, it showed that all players lived within the boundaries.

Based on the court papers, Little Leagues asserted that since the impropriety accusations only began to appear after the title run of the team, a district administrator and team director must meet with the surrounding leagues officials in an attempt to persuade them to agree to the boundary changes so that the players won't be found ineligible.

In the end, the Illinois District 4 was disbanded. Its six teams were also reassigned to different districts.

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