Sports are supposed to build a sound mind and a sound spirit. But recent marijuana incidents involving rugby players at Kanto Gakuin University raise the suspicion that many student athletes have forgotten the true meaning of sports. Rugby fans may ask: Where is the pride of rugby players whose tenets should be the spirit of fair play and dedication to their team?

Two Kanto Gakuin rugby players have been indicted on a charge of growing marijuana plants in their apartment; 12 others were found to have smoked marijuana. These incidents show a lack of common sense and student self-discipline. Kanto Gakuin rugby players are also said to have had drinking parties in their living quarters. This kind of atmosphere presents problems. The news is disappointing because the Kanto Gakuin rugby team is a six-time university rugby champion, including last season.

The incidents forced Mr. Hiroshi Haruguchi, the coach of the team, to resign. He told reporters: “I betrayed rugby, which I loved most. I was not qualified as a coach.” Looking back at the arrest of the two players Nov. 8, he said he was over-optimistic about the moral fiber of today’s youth.

The problem should be considered in a larger context. It must be asked whether school authorities are sufficiently aware of whether student athletes are making efforts to be on their best behavior and to perform well academically. In this connection, the recent decision by the Japan High School Baseball Association that student players who receive preferential treatment from schools must have good grades is reasonable.

University officials should be conscious of the possibility that student athletes, especially those who receive preferential treatment due to their talent, are likely to be interested only in winning games and not care about academic studies or matters other than sports. University authorities must get serious about guiding student athletes toward becoming good students first, whether they play rugby or other sports.

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