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Agency hopes to end college sports violence

Kyodo

Japan Sports Agency chief Daichi Suzuki suggested Monday he hopes establishing a governing body modeled after the United States’ National Collegiate Athletic Association can help eradicate violence in collegiate sports, an issue that has rocked the country in recent months.

The agency and other organizations have been preparing to create an agency similar to the NCAA by next spring as an organization that promotes and sets standards for college sports and encourages schools to take responsibility for their sport clubs and teams.

“I want schools to consider sport clubs as a part of their overall program, and through that improve their governance and ensure their compliance (with laws and regulations),” Suzuki said following a preparatory committee meeting in Tokyo.

The preparatory committee, which included representatives from the government, schools and private sector, announced Monday that the organization will be called the Japan Association for University Athletics and Sports (UNIVAS).

The sports agency has said it would seek membership from about 200 schools, 20 organizations including student athletic federations, and 100,000 student-athletes when UNIVAS kicks off. The new body would also seek to brand college sports to create higher revenue streams. The agency aims to bring in revenue of around ¥2 billion ($17 million) in its first fiscal year.

UNIVAS is also expected to hold seminars for coaches to improve their qualifications, and help students balance academics with sports.

A string of scandals involving college sports have made headlines in Japan in recent months.