CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two predominately black youth football teams who alleged they were discriminated against now have a league to play in.
The MidWestern and Western Generals youth football teams will play for the Kanawha Valley Youth Football League, officials decided in Kanawha Circuit Court.
The two teams had asked for an injunction against the Mountain State Elite Football League and the Kanawha Valley Youth Football League. All sides met Thursday in front of Judge Paul Zakaib, who told them to meet in closed chambers and try to come to an agreement.
After about two hours, the parties told the judge they would allow MidWestern and Western to become "full members" of the Kanawha Valley league.
According to the complaint requesting an injunction, the MidWestern and Western Generals teams, and a team from Dunbar, tried to get into the Kanawha Valley youth league in February. A number of franchises in the league allegedly said they did not want to play predominately black teams.
The Kanawha Valley league agreed to admit teams from South Charleston and South Hills as full members, according to the complaint. The Dunbar, MidWestern and Western Generals teams were admitted as "independent" teams -- meaning they couldn't play in the league's playoffs.
At the time, according to the complaint, the Kanawha Valley league included teams from Belle, Campbells Creek, Elk River, Kanawha River, Nitro, Poca, Sissonville, South Charleston, St. Albans, Tornado and Winfield.
All of those teams, except for Kanawha City, are mostly white, according to the complaint. The Western Generals and MidWestern teams are more than 70 percent black, and the Dunbar team is at least 50 percent black, according to the complaint.
Once the new teams were admitted to the Kanawha Valley league, a number of teams left that league and started the Mountain State Elite Football League, according to the complaint.
The three "independent" teams applied again for admission into both leagues. The Kanawha Valley league this time agreed to accept Dunbar, but the other teams were denied, according to the complaint -- even though the Mountain State league needed nine teams and had only seven.
The MidWestern and Western Generals teams received a letter explaining Mountain State would accept the children from their areas, but not any new franchises, the complaint states. That would mean the children would have to travel at least 10 miles to practice when many walk or ride their bikes, according to the complaint.
The agreement reached Thursday resolves the majority of MidWestern and Western's conflicts, said their attorney, Olubunmi Kusimo-Frazier. Smaller issues still need to be worked out, but will be over time, she said.