Florida A&M’s Marching 100 band, an ensemble that has performed at the Grammy Awards, Super Bowls and presidential inaugurations, has been suspended from all activities since the November hazing death of 26-year-old drum major Robert Champion. Although it won’t be back on the football field for the entire 2012-2013 school year, the university has already begun the search for a new director to replace Julian White.
According to the Associated Press, it hopes to make a selection by the end of the fall semester. That might be right around the trial date that a Florida judge has set for the 11 former members of the band in Champion’s hazing death.
Prosecutors say that Champion died when he was “pummeled to death” during the ritual that occurred after the Florida Classic, the annual football game between FAMU and rival Bethune-Cookman University.
Known to some as “crossing over,” the rite required Champion to make his way from the front of the percussion bus to the back as fellow band members blocked his path and punched and kicked him.