A 21-year-old member of Nihon University's American football team was arrested Saturday for alleged possession of cannabis and an illegal stimulant, investigative sources said.

The arrest came after police searched the team's dormitory in Tokyo two days ago. The team is a 21-time winner of the Koshien Bowl, the national college American football championship game.

Following the arrest of one of its members, Nihon University said on its website later in the day that its American football team would be suspended indefinitely from that same day.

The police did not reveal if the student has admitted to the charge, while the sources quoted him as saying he received the illegal drugs from someone else.

Journalists gather in front of the dormitory of Nihon University's American football team in Tokyo on Aug. 5, 2023. A twenty-one-year-old team member was arrested the same day for alleged possession of cannabis and an illegal stimulant. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Noriyasu Kitabatake is suspected of being in possession of 0.019 gram of cannabis and 0.198 gram of the stimulant drug at the dormitory in Nakano Ward in early July, the sources said.

Last year, information regarding someone on the American football team being involved with illegal drugs was reported to the police, the sources added.

The cannabis and stimulant were found in a storage box attached to a bed in the dormitory. Although Kitabatake shared the room with another team member, the storage was only used by him and was capable of being locked.

The police believe he was in possession of the illicit substances for personal use, given the small amount that was found.

According to the sources, Nihon University found parts of a plant and pills at the dormitory in early July and contacted the police. They were seized and later identified as cannabis and an illegal stimulant.

The American football team has suspended practice while the university hears from the team's former and incumbent members, as well as the manager and its coaches, among others.

In 2018, the team came under fire over a dangerous tackle by one of its members in an exhibition against Kwansei Gakuin University.

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