Judge orders undefeated Pennsauken Junior Indians football team must play in championship

PENNSAUKEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- On Friday night, the Pennsauken Junior Indians collected donations for their trip to the South Jersey United Football League Championship on December 7.

Or so they hope.

The saga between the team and the league began once the playoffs started.

Coaches said, out of nowhere, the league deemed the undefeated, never-scored-upon 10 to 11-year-old team ineligible.

The league cited that one of their players should have been playing for another team.

Earlier this month, the Junior Indians took it to court. They won, and even got a court order that they must play in the playoffs.

But the league went on without them.

Junior Indians coach Joe Delecce said it's been like a roller coaster for the players.

"It's one day we're playing. It's one day we're not," Delecce said.

The coaches think certain league officials and parents don't want to face their team.

"Two of the board members are coaches in the same division and they have children on the teams. We are the number one ranked team. We are 8-0," Delecce said.

But their attorney, Brian Budic, told Action News the team just got another victory.

A judge has ruled the league must put the Junior Indians in the championship game or get a hefty fine.
"There's a $5,000 sanction right now. That will be suspended, pending Pennsauken being able to partake in the playoffs. If the league once again violates a court order, it will be elevated to $15,000," said Budic.

Robert Martin, the South Jersey United Football League president, spoke to Action News by phone.

Martin said they did reinstate the Junior Indians, but some teams are refusing to play them.

He also said he doesn't know if on December 7 a team will be willing to play them then.

"We have people in our league that feel as strong about our rules and what we're trying to do as a league as Pennsauken understandably feels strongly about their kids having a chance to play. It's just a tough situation," Martin said.

All parties do agree that they can't believe it has come to this - going to court over 11-year-old children playing football.

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