Posts Tagged ‘Little League’

Boundary Dispute Fells Little League Champs

When adults cheat, it’s the kids who pay

Fraud and cheating occur too frequently in government, business, education, mediaand, sadly, even youth sports organizations.

Little League stripped the Jackie Robinson West team of its U.S. championship and suspended its coach for violating the league’s team boundary rule. In what can only be called a team-building effort, team officials altered a league map that determines the areas from which players can be recruited.

In addition to the team being relieved of its international tournament wins, the team manager was suspended the administrator of Illinois District 4 was removed. But it was the players, who were unaware of the team’s manipulation, who paid the highest price. Mountain Ridge Little League was awarded the championship.

It was an agonizing decision but critical in upholding the integrity of Little League, according to Stephen Keener, Little League International president and CEO.

Over the past 10 years, a number of Sadler Sports Insurance sports league clients were sued over boundary disputes involving the eligibility of a particular player (usually a superstar). Disqualification of an ineligible player by a sanctioning body prior to a tournament can result in a legal challenge for injunctive relief asking to halt the tournament until the judge can rule on eligibility. Due to the legal expenses and inconvenience involved, it is recommended that sanctioning bodies have tight boundary rules that are not subject to alternate interpretations. And, of course, they must always follow their own rules when making a decision.

Source: Tom Farrey, “Little League punishes Chicago team,” 11 Feb. 2015.

Little League Fraud and Embezzlement

Insider crime leads to big league problems

Vice Sports recently published a story on embezzlement and fraud schemes and apparently lax financial management system in Little League across the country. In “Little Big Crime,” Vice Sports reports volunteer staff embezzled or stole close to $2 million from within 37 Little Leagues in 2009, with 19 of those cases taking place in the last two years.

Every parent, coach, administrator and officer of a youth sports organization should read the article. The point of the story isn’t to paint Little League as a corrupt youth sport organization. The fact of the matter is that embezzlement in volunteer-run organizations and the high dollar amount of funds that go missing aren’t uncommon. It could easily be happening in your organization right under your nose.

We’ve been posting articles on fraud and embezzlement within youth sports for quite some time and offering tips on how to prevent such crimes. If I’ve heard one, I’ve heard a hundred administrators of sports organizations say it could never happen to them. Well, the first few paragraphs of the Vice Sports article illustrates just how shockingly vulnerable every organization is. Over a six year period a trusted and well-respected man serving as a trusted Little League vice president for over 15 years stole more than $200,000 before the crime was discovered.  After accounting for the interest payments on unnecessary loans he took out in the league’s name, the ultimate cost to the league was in the range of $270,000.

Protecting your organization

Needless to say, without a Crime Insurance policy, there’s little hope of ever recovering that money. Crime Insurance protects organizations from employee dishonesty, forgery and alteration, and theft of money and securities. Such a policy should be specially endorsed to cover theft by employees and officers.

It can’t be stressed strongly enough how important it is to put safeguards in place to prevent theft of registrations fees, concession profits, fund raising money and abuse of credit cards and bank accounts. If you or someone other than the person handling the finances of your organization hasn’t checked the books and bank statements lately, do it today.

And if your organization doesn’t have a Crime Insurance policy, call us today to discuss your needs and get a quote at 800- 622-7370.

Source: Aaron Gordon, “Little Big Crime:The Multimillion Dollar Little League Fraud Crisis,” 06 Oct. 2014.

Accident Insurance and Baseball

Spectator injuries not covered by Little League policy

New Jersey’s Elizabeth Lloyd, is suing for more than $150,000 in damages after being hit in the face by a baseball. Although Matthew Migliaccio was only 11 years old at the time of the incident, the lawsuit filed in April claims that Migliaccio’s overthrow from the bullpen was deliberate and reckless.

Lloyd is filing suit to cover for medical costs and pain and suffering, while her husband is suing for the loss of “services, society and consortium.”

The count alleging Migliaccio’s negligence is covered by the family’s Homeowner’s policy, but the other counts are not. Little League has denied any coverage, due to their accident policy only covering staff or players; spectators are not included.

In my opinion:

Little League is correct that spectator injuries are not covered by an Accident policy. However, “Accident like” benefits for spectator injuries up to a limit of $5,000 can be covered if the General Liability policy includes premises medical payments. Otherwise, if damages are greater than $5,000, the only recourse for an injured spectator is to sue. Such lawsuits would be covered under a General Liability policy under the Each Occurrence section. This case is similar to one that one of our league clients had about ten years ago when a spectator was hit in the jaw by an overthrow ball during pre game warm-ups. It was alleged that the league and coaches were negligent in allowing the players to form two lines for warm-ups where one line was too close to an unfenced spectator area. The carrier settled the case for around $300,000 but the damages were extensive.

-John Sadler

Source: Insurance Journal, June 26, 2012