FAMU hazing: Almost two years following the tragic hazing-related death of a drum major, the FAMU Marching 100 band is back on the football field playing their music after a 1 season suspension. The well-known band returned to play this Sunday at the Florida A&M game with pomp and circumstance for the school’s first season-opener, ABC reported this Sunday, Sept. 1.
The FAMU hazing death of Robert Champion occurred back in 2011 and prompted a 1 season-long suspension. The hazing brought the Florida school band under the critical scrutiny of the U.S. justice system, leading to over 12 arrests and the resigning of several school and sports officials. When the FAMU Marching 100 band returned this Sunday into the Florida Citrus Bowl, many fans erupted into applause, while some were spotted crying at the homecoming.
Several Florida alumni added that they were looking forward to the coming back of the school symbol and band’s music, noting that the football field’s support just wasn’t the same on game days without them.
"They did have to be punished — if you want to say that,” said one former FAMU graduate in a recent statement. "But it's great to have them back … It's almost not football season without the band — especially at FAMU.”
Robert Champion died from a hazing incident gone wrong in late 2011 in Orlando, Florida, after he suddenly collapsed following what several investigators called nothing less than a “savage beating” during the annual ritual. The death occurred in a hotel parking lot following the last football game FAMU participated in during the 2011 season.
The incident again led to a 1 season (almost two years) suspension for the musical group.
The FAMU band that played this Sunday was much smaller than in previous years, standing at only 126 members (prior to the suspension, over 400 musicians were part of the Florida school’s band). Yet with their return, FAMU brought a pre-game national anthem as well as a hit musical number during the halftime show that had the packed deck of football fans breaking out into a standing ovation and applause.
"It's a new day," said FAMU band announcer Joe Bullard to begin the performance. "Size does not matter. The sound is clear."
What’s your opinion on the FAMU hazing story and the return of the famed Marching 100? Please drop in your own thoughts in the section below.