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Less than a week after celebrating opening day, about 700 children in the Newport Beach Little League suddenly found their season in limbo.
The president of the organization, Gary Borquez, notified the players and their parents Wednesday that the league had been suspended indefinitely for reportedly not complying with rules and regulations of Little League Baseball.
But Borquez said Saturday that the governing bodies had not specified what those rules are. He said he believed his league was sanctioned because its board had too many managers and coaches.
What's certain is that the players can't practice or play games until the suspension is lifted.
"Our main concern is to get the kids back on the field," Borquez said. "Little League is all about the kids playing and having fun."
On Wednesday, District 55 Administrator Tamara Alexander, who oversees leagues in the area, sent an email to Dave Bonham, the interim director of the Little League Western Region Headquarters, asking for a suspension of Newport Beach Little League.
"As you will additionally see, I have exhausted extensive time in trying to get the President to take control of this situation, but my efforts have been futile, which I believe are directly related to the Manager/Coach ratio on the board of directors who are determined to customize the league's program to their own liking and not consider the best interest of the players in the program," Alexander wrote.
A couple of hours later, Borquez said, he received an email from Bonham saying the league would be suspended effective Thursday.
"At the request of Tamara Alexander District 55 Administrator, I am requesting that the charter of Newport Little League put on regional hold, until such time as your organization comes into compliance with the rules and regulations of Little League Baseball and Softball," Bonham wrote.
Borquez said the email didn't describe precisely what rules the league had violated, though it did state the league had too many managers on the board of directors.
He said he had received no advance notice that would have allowed NBLL to correct any violations.
NBLL immediately notified parents that games and practices would be canceled until further notice. The league held its opening day March 8.
The league held a board meeting Thursday night at which five managers and coaches resigned from the board in an effort to bring it into compliance.
The rule that appears to be at the heart of the suspension states that managers and coaches cannot make up 50 percent or more of the board, Borquez said. NBLL started the season with 24 board members, 14 of whom were managers or coaches.
Borquez said he's called and emailed District 55 multiple times to clarify the situation, but hasn't heard back.
Officials at District 55 and Little League Western Region couldn't immediately be reached for comment Saturday.
NBLL consists of about 70 teams, including two special needs teams, for boys and girls ages 5 to 13.
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