PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - The Phenix City Little League met Friday at Idle Hour Park to make sure they are in compliance with Little League International drafting rules, and they told parents they will work to hash out the details before next week's game.
The President of the League, Anthony Newman, says he was made aware of allegations by his regional director in Warner Robins concerning the way their players are drafted.
He says for the last five years, the players were distributed evenly by pulling names out of a hat, and the teams alternated each year between American and National leagues.
Little League International contacted the Newman and the board on Friday, saying that was not acceptable and that they were mandated to divide teams by their birth date and this decision is not an optional choice for the league.
Newman says this error was not intentional, and that neither he nor board members have the ability to control a draft.
"The draft was done, we played our regular season and we missed a rule and the rule was is that when a child is drafted in the major league at 11 years old, they must remain American or National," Newman said. "This league was operated with a completely different understanding of that for the last four or five years and so this is my first year as President and on the board. We have board members, past Presidents that were unaware of this rule on how it was interpreted as well."
When the league was first contacted by the Little League headquarters in Williamsport, PA, they were initially given three different options to draft teams: The first being a map or geographically, the second is by the first letter of the last name and lastly, by odd and even birth dates.
The league decided to draft by geographical location.
But as of Friday, the international league has mandated one of the options for them. Newman insist they are not under an official investigation.
A called meeting was held to inform parents of the changes. And because some kids will be on different teams in the next week because of the re-drafting process, this will conflict with uniforms already purchased. The President and the board will reimburse parents and will purchase the new one's that are needed.
League officials say they have not heard about the other allegations of them of misusing funds and turning kids away.
Newman says they want to follow all the guidelines of what little league stands for.