Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FAMU's Marching 100 will return from hazing suspension

TALLAHASSEE — Florida A&M University's acclaimed Marching 100 band will return from a 19-month suspension following the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion.

When the band will return and what it will look like are not yet determined.

"Considering all of the measures we have put in place, I believe that this constitutes what I've been saying for the past several months: the right conditions to lift the suspension of the Marching 100," interim FAMU president Larry Robinson said during a news conference Thursday attended by more than 100 students and FAMU supporters.

Robinson talked about all the changes that have taken place at FAMU since Champion's death after the Orlando Classic football game in November 2011. That includes training for students and staff, hiring new staff and building an anti-hazing website where students can file reports anonymously.

"I want to re-emphasize that I'm taking this action based upon all the work that has been done over this last year-and-a-half to ensure that we have an even safer campus for students at this university," Robinson said.

New band director Sylvester Young, on the job just two weeks, will decide when the Marching 100 will return. He is evaluating students, and a marching band class meets every Monday and Wednesday. While interviewing for the job, Young said he could have the band ready to perform by the first game of the year: the MEAC-SWAC Challenge in Orlando on Sept. 1.

"We've been working as if that date was the ideal," Young said. "However, we're still working to get things ready, and I guess at some point we'll make a decision about that." The decision will largely depend on whether students are ready, he said.

Scaled-down performances could be the standard early on.

Usually, the Marching 100 is the star of FAMU home games and even most away games. The band performs before the football team takes the field, at halftime and from the stands throughout the game. Members often stay behind afterward to show off their musical skills and challenge opposing bands, a ritual known as the "Fifth Quarter."

FAMU has new standards in place for how many hours the band can practice each week, limits on how many years students can participate in the band and stricter requirements for band scholarships. That could mean the Marching 100 is smaller than before, when ranks swelled to over 400 members by some reports.

Champion died after a hazing ritual where he was beaten violently as he walked down the aisle of a bus. Doctors said he absorbed more than 300 blows.

Roughly a dozen band members faced felony hazing charges; many accepted plea deals that included probation or community service, but cases are still pending. Champion's family filed a civil suit against FAMU, the bus company and hotel alleging the hazing could have been prevented. That case is pending, too.

In the wake of Champion's death, band director Julian White and FAMU president James Ammons resigned.

Jeremy Linnen, a tuba player from Fayetteville, N.C., said he is excited to return to the field after losing a season to the suspension. And he believes the focus on bringing back the musical standards that made the Marching 100 a world-renowned band will leave no room for hazing activities that caused the downfall.

"As a student, I feel like we have to work really hard so that when we can come back it will be the same band you saw," he said.

Student body president Anthony Siders said it is a chance for FAMU to prove itself. "Yes we have a tradition here, a great legacy of excellence," he said, "but in regards to the culture of hazing that's been eradicated over time, the students do understand the severity and the importance that it must go or this university will not live."

FAMU's Marching 100 will return from hazing suspension 06/27/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 27, 2013 8:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. In this Dec. 4, 2016, file photo, Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the third hole during the final round at the Hero World Challenge golf tournament in Nassau, Bahamas. Woods has been arrested on a drunken driving charge in Palm Beach County , various media outlets are reporting. [AP photo]
  2. Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charge in Florida

    Public Safety

    Tiger Woods was arrested on a DUI charge Monday in Jupiter, according to the Palm Beach County sheriff's office.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.
  3. Boy, 9, hospitalized after shooting in St. Petersburg

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A 9-year-old boy was injured Monday morning in a shooting in the 2300 block of 17th Ave S, police said.

    A juvenile was injured in a shooting Monday morning in the 2300 block of 17th Ave S in St. Petersburg. (Zachary Sampson, Tampa Bay Times)
  4. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts

    Business

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]