TALLAHASSEE - 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.
James Ammons, university president, 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 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 Champion died, and band director Julian White recently retired after it was revealed that at least 100 band members were not students at the time of Champion’s death.
“There is no question the band must be restructured; there are measures we feel we must take,’’ Ammons said.
The president was already under pressure from many state officials - including Governor 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 the school’s football games, and on Monday some board members wanted to know if the decision to keep the band off the field until 2013 would affect ticket sales.
But several trustees told Ammons on Monday that they supported his decision to keep the band suspended.
Travis Roberts, a clarinet player who has been on the band for four years, said he also agreed with the decision.
“What do we do in that one-year process to make sure these things do not happen again?’’ Roberts asked. “We lack consistency at times, and this is something that needs to change. . . . No one has taken accountability for what has happened. This thing didn’t start only five years ago.’’