FAMU Lifts Suspension Of Marching 100: News Conference @ Lee Hall

Press Conference:

 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 morning attended by more than 100 students and FAMU supporters.     

      Before announcing the band would be allowed to return, Robinson talked about all the changes that had 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 is ready to return. He has begun 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, at least 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.”

Today, 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 limits on requirements for band scholarships. That could mean the Marching 100 is smaller than it was during its last season, where ranks swelled to over 400 members by some reports.

At the conclusion of the news conference, supporters broke into cheers and then a song: “I’m So Glad I’m From FAMU.”

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 band’s 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.

ss Conference:


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida A&M University plans to make an announcement on the future of its famous Marching 100 band.

A news conference is scheduled for This Morning. More information will be giving as the day goes on.

The band has been suspended since 2011 after the hazing-related death of drum major Robert Champion.

The university hired a new band director, Sylvester Young, last month.

The band is known for its marching appearances at presidential inaugurations and Super Bowls

June 26, 2013


Tallahassee, FL - The Florida A&M University Marching band is still on suspension.  There's no word on when that will change.

However, with a new band director holding the baton, things may change may be on the horizon. 

Dr. Sylvester Young has only been on the job for a few days now, but, he's hit the ground running.

He says he has been reaching out to band members to reiterate proper student behavior, which he says comes before marching and music.

Dr. Young says he is excited about being the new band director at FAMU and says his excitement seems to trickle down to band students.

Dr. Young graduated from FAMU in 1969 and is the former band director of Ohio University.

He says he realizes the Marching 100's deep traditions, and says his mission is to bring the band back stronger than ever and move the music program forward.

He says, "I want to preserve those things that have brought this band to this point, in regards to their performance, their standards of excellence in marching and musicianship.  But, there are some things that we plan to somewhat change."

Dr. Young says those changes include more care and attention to individual students who are in the band.

Some of FAMU's Marching 100 band members met Dr. Young for the first time Wednesday.

Dr. Young says, while students weren't acquainted with him, they already know where he stands on hazing.

"The word is out." He says.

He says he has zero tolerance for hazing.  "A lot of those situations are states of minds of the students.  We are somewhat changing that already just through plain conversation with the students, getting to know them and putting them on the spot as to why they're here."

Dr. Young retired as Ohio University's band director three years ago.

He says after the hazing death of FAMU's Marching 100 Drum Major Robert Champion in 2011, he felt a responsibility to leave retirement and help build the band back up.

Marching 100 member Zachary Nealy says Champion was his drum major in high school in Atlanta.

He says he's looking forward to healing under Dr. Young's leadership.

Nealy says, "It felt like night, but now we're in the daylight.  I want to thank our administration for providing a means for us to moving on and moving to the next level."

The marching band class is now being offered again.  But, administrators say it's not necessarily an indication of whether the Marching 100 is returning.

"We're just getting ready." Says, Dr. Young.

Dr. Young says he is only one piece of the puzzle of getting the Marching 100 back.  He says administrators are still making sure everything is in place before making any decisions.

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Congrats to Dr. Young. Good to have an rattler alumni. And I know he will have everything in tact. Come Sept.1!
Date Opponent Location Time (ET) Results Media
MEAC-SWAC Challenge presented by Disney
  Sun, Sep 01  Mississippi Valley State at Orlando, Florida   11:45 a.m.  
Hall of Fame Weekend
  Sat, Sep 07  Tennessee State University Tallahassee, Florida   2:00 p.m. Broadcast  WHBX 96.1-FM Twitter Link
Youth Day
  Sat, Sep 14  Samford Tallahassee, Florida   2:00 p.m.  
  Sat, Sep 21  Ohio State at Columbus, Ohio   TBA  
  Sat, Oct 05  Morgan State * at Baltimore, Maryland   1:00 p.m.  
  Sat, Oct 12  Savannah State * at Savannah, Georgia   6:00 p.m.  
  Sat, Oct 19  Howard * Tallahassee, Florida   2:00 p.m.  
Parent's Weekend
  Sat, Oct 26  North Carolina A&T * Tallahassee, Florida   2:00 p.m.  
  Sat, Nov 02  Norfolk State * at Norfolk, Virginia   2:00 p.m.  
  Sat, Nov 09  South Carolina State * at Orangeburg, South Carolina   1:30 p.m.  
Community/Senior Day
  Sat, Nov 16  Delaware State * Tallahassee, Florida   2:00 p.m.  
Florida Blue Florida Classic
  Sat, Nov 23  Bethune-Cookman * at Orlando, Florida   TBA  
* Conference Games

Only if FAMU had a formidable opponent with a decent traveling fan base for the SWAC/MEAC Challenge, that whole bottom (bowl) level might've been packed. Damn!!! lol

Its going to be packed, and famu dont start that bull S putting community and high school bandsman in your program just to look big again the whole world know your lil get big secret now. Mvsu will have only members of the campus we expect famu to do the same

Awesome, time to focus on the future.

new band director, new policies, new day.  That's in the past and they won't be doing that in the future.  Congrats 100 on the return!
kennis said:

Its going to be packed, and famu dont start that bull S putting community and high school bandsman in your program just to look big again the whole world know your lil get big secret now. Mvsu will have only members of the campus we expect famu to do the same

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