TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida A&M University’s famed marching band is being suspended until 2013.
FAMU President James Ammons told the school’s board of trustees on Monday that he will keep The Marching 100 off the field for the upcoming school year.
Eleven FAMU band members face felony hazing charges stemming from the death of drum major Robert Champion in November. Two others face misdemeanor counts. Ammons suspended the band soon after Champion’s death, but his death exposed a culture of hazing within the band.
Ammons said he could not allow the band to return until the university has hired a new band director and has adopted new rules regarding how the band will operate — including who should be eligible to perform.
“I think there is a period we should take that these measures are in place and we have addressed all the institutional issues,” Ammons said.
Last week it was revealed that 101 band members were not FAMU students at the time of Champion’s death. Longtime band director Julian White, who had been fighting to keep his job, abruptly decided to retire.
Top state officials including Gov. Rick Scott and the university system chancellor say the Marching 100 should remain sidelined until other ongoing investigations into the band are completed.
The Marching 100 has had a rich history as it has played at Super Bowls and in inauguration parades. The band has been one of the main draws during FAMU football games, and some board members on Monday wanted to know if the decision to keep the band off the field this fall would impact ticket sales.