The 21-time national champion Nihon University Phoenix have always been one of the most respected teams in the 80-plus years of American football in Japan. But the school's elite status is currently in jeopardy because of a fallout from the scandal caused by a dirty tackle.

Nippon TV reported Saturday that a disciplinary committee organized by the Kanto Collegiate Football Association has decided former Nihon University head coach Masato Uchida and his former assistant coach Tsutomu Inoue "have lost the credibility of American football." The TV station also said Uchida will be given a lifetime ban from the league and Inoue will be disqualified as a coach, while the defending champion Phoenix will be suspended indefinitely.

Although American football is not a major sport in Japan, the Phoenix have been well-known since their golden era during the 1970s and '80s, during which they reached the Koshien Bowl — the collegiate national championship game — 16 times, winning nine times.