A Japanese university has moved to disband its renowned American football team after some members were arrested over possession or purchase of illegal drugs, a source with knowledge of the matter said Friday.

Nihon University's board of directors decided in an extraordinary session to bring the club's 83-year history to an end. According to the source, club members hoping it would be spared were in attendance.

File photo shows the American football field at Nihon University in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward on Nov. 29, 2023. (Kyodo)

An internal committee on Nov. 28 asserted the club should be abolished but the board of directors, meeting three days later, concluded that further deliberation would be required before reaching a decision.

On Nov. 29, club members presented the university with a petition, seeking it to reverse the decision. On Thursday, former players from the school's historic American football rival, Kwansei Gakuin University, submitted a petition with some 30,000 signatures in support of the Nihon University club.

Related coverage:

Japan university to disband scandal-hit American football club