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Coaches demand Nihon University changes

by Hiroshi Ikezawa

Staff Writer

The Coaches Association of the Kanto Collegiate Football Association decided that it will refuse to play the Nihon University Phoenix this fall unless the school changes its culture after the controversial dirty tackle incident against Kwansei Gakuin University, the union of Kanto Division I head coaches announced on Thursday night in Tokyo.

“We respect the Phoenix as the defending national champion, but we also are in the position of having to protect our players as coaches,” chairman Shigeru Oyama said. “We don’t want to play the Phoenix until they change.”

The Coaches Association consists of 16 head coaches from top division schools. From Nihon University, where Masato Uchida resigned last Saturday, assistant coach Taku Mori attended and apologized for the trouble at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting, which was closed to the media. Mori left the meeting following the apology, and did not speak to the media.

The Coaches Association also announced it will urge the KCFA to immediately establish a third-party committee to investigate the dirty tackle incident as well as disclose the investigation by the disciplinary committee, which the KCFA called for the same purpose.

“The members of the disciplinary committee are people within the KCFA,” Oyama said in explaining the reason the coaches require another investigative body. “We need the third party to have a fair report.”

During the meeting, according to Oyama, there were opinions that Nihon University should be banned for the season or change the whole coaching staff before being allowed to participate in league action this fall. But they decided to ask the KCFA to guide Nihon University to change because the Coaches Association does not have the authority to institute such measures.

If Nihon University is banned for the season, the Coaches Association would seek others ways to help the current Phoenix players.

“We cannot change their organization, but we can invite the players to the All-Star Game to provide them the chance to play a game,” Oyama said.