Thursday, April 23, 2009

Nittai University Loses Ban Appeal in Marijuana Scandal

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20090422-00000059-jij-spo
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2009/04/23/01.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

On Apr. 22 the Kanto Regional University Track and Field Association rejected an appeal by Nihon Taiku [Nittai] University to overturn punitive measures the Association had levied against Nittai in response to marijuana use by a member of the university's track and field team.* Nittai had sought to reverse the ruling in an effort to expedite the rebuilding of its track and field team, but the Association chose to leave its original decision in place unaltered.

Despite Nittai having already suspended its entire track and field team for one month, the Kanto Association imposed the draconian measures of stripping the school's long distance running team of its prestigious seeded position in next year's Hakone Ekiden and banning the entire track and field team from competing in Association-sponsored competitions until June 30. Nittai protested that it is unreasonable to so severely punish squads to which the offending student did not belong, but Association head Yoshiyuki Aoba responded, "There has been a great deal of discussion of where the responsibility for this scandal lies, and we do not believe Nittai has adequately handled the situation. This issue is not about one athlete or one division. It is indicative of a problem with the entire team. [Nittai University`s] response to this scandal was mistaken and insufficient, and we have absolutely no intention of changing our ruling."

Nittai University is expected to send its reply to the Kanto Association on Apr. 23.

*Translator's note: The team member alleged to be involved was a pole vaulter. He was never arrested or charged with marijuana use by police after a search of his residence failed to produce evidence. Click here for further background on this story.

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