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FAMU Band Suspension Extended Another Year

Florida A&M University’s famed marching band is being suspended for at least one more school year as officials try to cleanse the hazing culture that led to the death of a drum major, the school’s president said Monday.

FAMU President James Ammons said the Marching 100 should stay off the field at least until a new band director is hired and new rules for the band have been adopted.

Eleven FAMU band members face felony charges in the November hazing death of Robert Champion, while two others face misdemeanor counts. The band has been banned from performing since soon after he died, and band director Julian White recently retired after it was revealed that at least 100 band members were not students when Champion died.

“There is no question the band must be restructured, there are measures we feel we must take,” Ammons said.

Ammons was already under pressure from many state officials — including Gov. Rick Scott — to keep the Marching 100 sidelined until other ongoing investigations into the band are completed.

The Marching 100 has had a rich history, performing 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 until 2013 would impact ticket sales.

But several trustees told Ammons on Monday that they supported his decision to keep the band suspended.

To read the entire story by Gary Fineout, go to the AJC

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