Voting Results of the Little League Baseball Charter Committee
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 31, 2001) - Below are the capsule results of today's vote of the seven-member Little League Baseball Charter Committee regarding the establishing of Danny Almonte's age as 14. Participation by a 14-year-old is a violation of the League Baseball Tournament Rules and Guidelines. The vote on all items was unanimous.
The charter for the Rolando Paulino Little League will not be revoked.
No punitive action will be taken against Danny Almonte.
All games played by the Rolando Paulino Little League tournament team in the Little League Baseball Division are forfeited. All championships won by the team in district, section, state and regional play are awarded to those teams defeated by Rolando Paulino Little League. The third place title in the Little League Baseball World Series is awarded to Pariba Little League of Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Fourth place is not awarded and no other placements will be listed among the other teams.
The title of world champion, won by the Tokyo Kitasuna Little League of Tokyo, Japan, is not affected.
As a result of its review, Little League Baseball has banned Rolando Paulino (a coach and league officer for the local league) and Felipe de Jesus Almonte (Danny Almonte's father) from any further association or involvement with the Little League program worldwide.
Little League Baseball will work closely with the local league to reorganize with credible leadership to ensure a similar situation is not repeated.
The privilege of participating in the 2002 International Tournament for the Rolando Paulino Little League is suspended, pending reorganization of the local league's management and operations. Reinstatement of tournament privileges will be made when Little League Baseball is assured of the local league's compliance with all rules, regulations and policies.
Little League Baseball will work with U.S. State Department and immigration officials to strengthen Little League's age verification process.
LITTLE LEAGUE ACCEPTS DECISION
OF DOMINICAN REPUBLIC GOVERNMENT
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 31, 2001) - Little League Baseball has accepted the decision of the government of the Dominican Republic regarding the correct date of birth for Danny Almonte, a participant in the 2001 Little League Baseball World Series on the Rolando Paulino Little League team from the Bronx, N.Y.
The national public records office of the Dominican Republic has been investigating over the past several days in determining that Danny is 14 years old. Little League rules require that eligible players be no more than 12 years old during the regular Little League season and turn 13 no earlier than August 1 of the year in which they are competing.
Little League officials in New York, in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, and in the Little League Baseball World Series that ended on Sunday in Williamsport had been provided government-issued documents asserting Danny Almonte was born April 7, 1989. Another document, shown to Little League officials the day after the World Series ended, was also issued by the Dominican Republic government, indicating his birth date is April 7, 1987.
"We are grateful to the government of the Dominican Republic forsettling this issue," Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball, said. "We respect it and will abide by it. Clearly, adults have used Danny Almonte and his teammates in a most contemptible and despicable way. Their actions are reprehensible. We are certainly saddened and angry that we were deceived. In fact, millions of Little Leaguers around the world were deceived, as well as Little League as an organization and the governments of the United States and the Dominican Republic."
Mr. Keener said the seven-member Little League Baseball Charter Committee did not consider revoking the charter of Rolando Paulino Little League. Revocation of charter is the most severe penalty that the committee can impose.
"Revoking the charter would prevent the hundreds of children in the Rolando Paulino Little League from enjoying all the positive benefits of Little League Baseball," Mr. Keener said. "Nobody on our committee wanted to consider such a drastic measure because of this isolated incident. For the same reason, there will be no punitive action taken against Danny Almonte. If otherwise eligible, he is welcome to participate in the Senior League Baseball program next season as a 15-year-old. All of the decisions made by the charter committee are with the best interests of all Little Leaguers and Danny Almonte in mind."
As a result of Little League's internal review this week, Rolando Paulino (a coach and officer in the local league) has been indefinitely removed from any further involvement or association in the Little League program worldwide.
Although the charter for Rolando Paulino Little League will not be revoked, Mr. Keener said there will be an internal review of the local league management and operations. The results of this review will have a bearing on whether teams from the Rolando Paulino Little League will be permitted to take part in playoffs next year.
"Full compliance with all of the rules, regulations and policies ofLittle League is required before the Rolando Paulino Little League can enter teams in the 2002 International Tournament," Mr. Keener said. "We will be working closely with the leadership of the Rolando Paulino Little League during the off-season and the coming years because we know the league is a valuable asset to the Bronx community. We also will be working with the U.S. State Department and immigration officials to strengthen our age verification procedures."
Current procedures call for proof of age to be an original, government-issued document, such as a birth certificate, that lists the date of birth.
Mr. Keener announced that the charter committee voted unanimously to forfeit all of the victories won by the Rolando Paulino Little League team in 2001, including the championship titles won at the end of district, sectional and regional play. In addition, the third-place game won by Rolando Paulino Little League in the Little League Baseball World Series has been forfeited in favor of the Pariba Little League of Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Additionally, any records established by the Rolando Paulino Little League team or its players in the Little League Baseball World Series will not be considered official and will be stricken from Little League records.
Additionally, the Charter Committee voted unanimously to ban Felipe de Jesus Almonte, Danny Almonte's father, from any position in the Little League program worldwide.
Mr. Keener added that the success of the Rolando Paulino Little League team can still serve as a beacon for other leagues in urban areas.
"No team owes its success to one person," Mr. Keener said. "It is important to recognize that the Rolando Paulino Little League team performed very well. Its players demonstrated good sportsmanship throughout the tournament, and all of New York can be proud of them. And although part of that success was because of an ineligible player, the league itself had already proved itself by virtue of the hundreds of children it serves."
The title of world champion, won by the Tokyo Kitasuna Little League of Tokyo, Japan, is not affected. Japan defeated Apopka National Little League of Apopka, Fla., 2-1, in the final game.
Note 1: Little League will not provide any contact information on volunteers or participants in its local leagues.