League president: Liberty Little Leopards playoff ban not racial discrimination

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LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The president of the youth football league Steel Valley Youth Conference says Liberty’s midget team is not in the playoffs because it violated league rules — not because of race.

Allegations of racism were made Thursday during a meeting with parents and coaches of the Little Leopards.

The team was denied a playoff spot after league officials determined Liberty had used ineligible players. Liberty then agreed to forfeit three games.

Coaches in Liberty say they didn’t know playoff spots were determined by division wins instead of overall wins. Now, they haven’t been able to play in enough games to get a playoff spot.

League President Chuck Doran said, in part, they have many teams in their league and race never enters into any decision they make.

Doran also said the playoff rules were voted on in March and September and they were unanimously approved both times — and that included Liberty’s votes.

WKBN also spoke with the Little Leopard’s Vice President Antwon Rutland, who confirmed Liberty did vote for the playoff process, but thought they would still have a chance to make the playoffs.

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