A Japanese university has decided to disband its renowned American football team following a scandal in which three of its members were arrested over possession or purchase of illegal drugs, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday.


The decision to end the Nihon University club's 83-year history came after police made a third arrest Monday in their investigation that began earlier this year.

File photo taken in December 2017 in Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, shows players of the Nihon University American football team celebrating after winning the Koshien Bowl for the 21st time.  (For editorial use only)(Kyodo)

Police searched the club's dormitory and arrested one of its members in August, and the Tokyo-based university suspended the club's activities in September.

The member was later indicted on the charge of possessing a stimulant drug. Another member was fined in October for buying cannabis from a dealer, while a third was arrested on a similar allegation.

Known as the Phoenix, the club won the Koshien Bowl, the top national collegiate competition in the sport, 21 times and the Rice Bowl, the title game between the country's corporate and collegiate champions, four times.

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

Related coverage:

Nihon Univ. suspends American football team again over cannabis allegations

Student arrested for alleged possession of cannabis, stimulant drug

Police search Nihon University gridiron team dorm over cannabis