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American football: Nihon University remains suspended over lack of progress

Hidetoshi Tanaka, board chairman of Nihon University. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Kanto University League decided Tuesday to maintain the suspension of Nihon University's American football team over a flagrant foul that occurred on May 6, calling the school's stance on reform "lacking."

The decision means that Nihon University, a powerhouse in American football, a minor sport in Japan, cannot participate in this fall's league. While the Kanto League recognized the team's efforts to change, the university had been slow to cut ties with two coaches who allegedly ordered a dangerous tackle.

The league called the school's measures and plans for reform "unclear."

"There is nothing to be said but that they are lacking, and we cannot accept them if the reforms are lacking," the body said in explaining the decision.

Nihon University had supported the assertions of the two coaches, head coach Masato Uchida and assistant Tsutomu Inoue, that linebacker Taisuke Miyagawa, whose late hit sent Kwansei Gakuin University quarterback Kosei Okuno to the hospital, had misinterpreted the coaches' instructions.

The league and a third-party panel had determined the coaches had ordered the illegal play, and the league has since banned both men for life. Yet while both had quit the team, they had remained university employees until they were fired Monday, the day before the league ruled on the team's suspension.

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