The City of McKinney placed McKinney Little League Baseball under probation Tuesday, but will allow the league to use city fields and conduct its 2014 season if it meets self-imposed registration deadlines.
McKinney Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Director Lemuel Randolph said Thursday that City Manager Jason Gray felt “comfortable” with the league’s action plan that was presented to the city last week.
The league’s status had been on the chopping block since Randolph informed the league last month that its 2014 spring season has been cancelled. In a letter addressed to former league president Jimmy Dempsey on Nov. 11, Randolph explains why the decision was made. He said it was due to instability within the board, poor finances and the cancellation of the 2013 fall season, which Randolph called a “poor decision.” For those reasons, he said the league would not be able to use city fields in 2014.
But Thursday, Randolph said the league must stick with the action plan presented to the city, and continue to show the city they are working toward implementing sound financial practices, accountable management and completion of background checks.
While the city has given the league access to city fields, Randolph said the baseball organization still must meet registration deadlines to ensure the 2014 season is played. The league will conclude its registration Jan. 26 and must notify the city the following day if they met their registration benchmark.
Randolph said if McKinney Little League Baseball does not have enough players registered by the Jan. 26 deadline, McKinney Baseball Association will bring in the players who registered for little league. This is what happened last year as part of the city’s issues with the way the Little League operated.
McKinney Little League President Lonea Gilbert could not be reached for comment on the city’s ruling.
Randolph said it is the city’s goal to ensure all youth that want to play baseball in McKinney have the chance to do so in 2014.
Gilbert said last month the league was working toward rewriting its bylaws and constitution. She added the league is doing all it can to align itself with Little League International, and will have to pay around $5,000 for a new charter.
Gilbert said the league is putting in new financial practices, also. Equipment purchased with personal credit cards will not be reimbursed, and checks used for league business will need to be signed by Gilbert and league treasurer Robby Harrison.
Much has been made of the league’s current financial status, with Gilbert and former president Jimmy Dempsey confirming a report that stated the league had around $1,500 in its account.
Michael Bennett, former safety officer and coach in little league, said the league has an unpaid bill of $800 to a local company for All-Star Uniforms and an unpaid bill to equipment manufacturer Riddell in the amount of $2,800.