Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore announced during a Facebook Live on Wednesday, June 17, that the Kokomo Jackrabbits’ season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although other teams in the Northwoods League will begin play this month, the Jackrabbits’ decision was based on the concern of players who would be traveling and staying with local host families, unlike many of the teams in the northern region.
“One of [the Jackrabbits’] main concerns [was] that both their host families themselves being concerned with the COVID situation as well as the players and their families as to where their sons may be staying in those communities,” Moore said. “From what we understand, because some of the teams from the northern part of the country having players living closer to the proximity of their organizations, that’s why some of those pockets were having in a small series of games at the respective stadiums.”
Additionally, Moore said the Jackrabbits feared a loss of revenue due to the lack of home games in May and June after the league’s opening day (May 26) had been postponed indefinitely on April 17.
Northwoods League gave its teams a deadline of June 9, according to Moore, to notify the league on their decisions to play. Moore said the city was notified with the same information within 48 hours.
According to Moore, although there will be no Jackrabbits games this summer, the organization is working with Bullpen Tournaments to bring college division summer league practices and games to Kokomo Municipal Stadium and CFD Stadium in Highland Park. Bullpen Tournaments currently organizes games at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., and is slated to manage games at the future Championship Park.
“The Bullpen organization has reached out to both the Jackrabbits and the city for the use of both of those ball fields for some additional collegiate games this summer,” Moore said. “So we’re excited. Although it’s not Jackrabbits ball, there’ll still be some college-level games being played in our community.”
Moore said the Jackrabbits organization still has plans to return next summer for a “bigger and better” season.
No information on refunds for ticket holders or sponsors has been released to the city, according to Moore.
“Unfortunately, the city isn’t involved in either of those aspects of the organization to have any information to share. I’ve directed folks to the 800-number or website where they originally either purchased tickets or made arrangements with the sponsorship to get that information,” Moore said.
The Jackrabbits never responded to multiple requests for comment.