The head coach of Nihon University's American football team announced he will step down over a vicious cheap shot by one of his players in a recent game against Kwansei Gakuin University.

Masato Uchida spoke to reporters at Osaka Airport in Itami on May 19 after meeting with the Kwansei Gakuin quarterback who was injured on the play, as well as his parents, and offered a profuse apology.

"All responsibility for the series of recent developments lies with me," Uchida said. "I seriously accept my responsibility as head coach and will resign from my post."

The dirty play occurred during a May 6 game in Tokyo between Tokyo-based Nihon University and Kwansei Gakuin of Hyogo Prefecture.

The late hit on the quarterback came after he released a pass that fell incomplete. The defensive player slammed into the quarterback from behind, causing injuries to the quarterback's knee and lower back that will require three weeks to heal.

Uchida's apology came in the wake of a second news conference held by Kwansei Gakuin football officials on May 17. They asked that the person in charge at Nihon University meet directly with the injured player and his parents and offer an apology.

The news conference was held after Nihon University submitted a written response in which it was explained that there may have been a gap in understanding between the defensive player and the "toughness" demanded by team coaches of players as long as tackles were done within the rules.

Nihon University also said that it was still looking into the matter and promised a second written response by May 24 or so.

However, Kwansei Gakuin head coach Hideaki Toriuchi was not satisfied with Nihon University's initial response.

At the May 17 news conference, Toriuchi said, "If there was a gap in understanding, why wasn't the player called by a coach after the first dangerous play and told 'That was not what I meant'?"

He said Nihon University's response had not come across as sincere or helped to clear the air of doubt. Toriuchi indicated that if the second response was also found not to measure up, the university would have no option but to cancel the annual game held with Nihon University.

After the dangerous tackle that injured the quarterback, the defensive player remained in the game, but was eventually ejected after committing other flagrant fouls.

According to an initial internal investigation by Nihon University, Uchida denied giving instructions for illegal tackles.

The player in question also said he was never ordered by the head coach to make such a play.