Youth Football League controversy


Posted on May 28, 2009 at 8:24 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 15 at 1:27 PM

(WHAS11) Two local youth football league teams are speaking out; they want to know where they will play.

But parents of the team members are raising money anyway; hoping a league will let them in.

WHAS11's Kyle Draper joins investigated claims thataggressive recruiting could be to blame.

The Hikes Point Lobos and the west end Yellowjackets have fielded youth football teams for decades, but now those two programs may be on the verge of becoming extinct because the league they were a part of has disbanded.

On any given night you can find supporters of the west end Yellowjackets Youth Football team raising money for the upcoming season. But while these parents are hard at work, in the back of their minds they know there's the possibility their child may not have a league to play in.

Jacque Brentz, Yellowjackets coach, said "We have a president that's working hard and a vice president, everybody in the organization is working hard to secure a location for us to play somewhere. The Yellowjackets will not fold."

The Yellowjackets have been part of the Jefferson County Optimist Youth Football League for two seasons, but when 7 of the nine teams in the league left for other leagues, the Yellowjackets and Hikes Point Lobos were the only ones left standing. Now they're searching for a league to join.

Anissa Brady, a Lobos parent, said "We are calling each other trying to figure out what we're going to do. How we're going to stay together. How we're going to continue to make the kids happy and keep this family bond that we have."

Five of the teams from the Optimist league went to the Kentuckiana Youth Football League, which now has more than 20 programs. That's the same league the Yellowjackets and Lobos would like to join, but according to them they're being kept out.

Brentz said, "We have parents that call everyday trying to see what we did wrong."

Shawn Donigan, Yellowjackets president, said "Some kids I'm hearing say they're just going to sit out and not play at all. Some parents say if they can't be a Yellowjacket, they won't play."

Glenn Brown, Lobos president, "There seems to be a concerted effort to make sure these kids do not play football for Hikes Point."

KYFL board members, Brian Aabrams and Ed Packer, did not want to go on camera, but they did tell WHAS11News that there are reasons the Yellowjackets and Lobos are not members of the KYFL. One being coaches from both teams have been known to approach opposing players after games in an effort to recruit them to their teams. While other coaches we've spoken to say the same thing; there are some who say recruiting goes on everywhere.

Donigan said, "We do pick up kids because we're a good program. Parents might always want to be a part of a winning team; a winning program. So we might pick up some kids that way but we never actively go out and try to recruit a kid once he's done playing."< /p>

Brown, "What has happened is a parent will walk up and say I want my child to play for Hikes Point. Who am I to say that they can't? A parent should be allowed to take their kid wherever they feel comfortable with their child."

There is another league the two teams can join. Right now the Metro Youth Football League has 12 members. The organization's vice president said the Lobos never applied for admission and when they voted to add two teams to the league, the Yellowjackets finished third in the voting.

So for now the Yellowjackets supporters remain optimistic they'l l be able to play somewhere, while the Lobos wonder if they'll get to use their football equipment this year.