Nihon University, whose sports program has been mired in controversy and questions about accountability this year stemming from violence within its American football program, took another hit on that front on Wednesday.
The school’s head swim coach, Koji Ueno, apologized for an incident of physical abuse by an upperclassman against one of his teammates during a practice session.
The latest incident is also notable because Rikako Ikee, the 18-year-old female swimmer who is likely to be one of the faces of the 2020 Olympics, has indicated she will begin attending Nihon University next spring.
Speaking at a press conference, Ueno said, “I apologize that physical violence occurred.”
The incident, which took place on Sept. 6, does not appear to be particularly severe. The incident occurred when a second-year student who had been nodding off in practice was chastised by an upperclassman, the clash leaving bruising on the swimmer’s left arm.
“It is true that there was physical abuse, but I don’t think we need to treat this as if he were injured,” said the second-year student’s mother, who also attended the press conference.
Nihon University was plunged into controversy earlier in the year when two American football coaches were believed to have ordered an illegal hit that sent an opposing player to the hospital.
The two coaches are currently appealing lifetime bans, while the school’s administration was harshly criticized for its failure to respond appropriately to the scandal.