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FAMU’s Marching 100 tunes up its horns — gets set to hit the field

University turns the corner with new rules and academic award

Miami Times staff report | 8/14/2013, 2:18 p.m.
As the 2013-2014 college football season gets set to kick, many diehard hard fans in Florida have wondered if Florida ...
Members of FAMU's Marching 100 performing during halftime show.

As the 2013-2014 college football season gets set to kick, many diehard hard fans in Florida have wondered if Florida A&M University [FAMU]’s Marching 100 would be allowed to return to the field. But college football aficionados and alums don’t have to suffer from anxiety attacks any longer. The 100 has officially returned from its 19-month suspension.

Last weekend, the band room on FAMU’s campus was filled with eager freshmen in suits and ties lined up to audition for a spot in the acclaimed, but embattled, Marching 100 band. They practiced with the upperclassmen late into the evening, learning the sharp movements and musicianship that has earned the band worldwide fame. Still, no one has forgotten why the band room went dark: the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion in November 2011.

“The world is watching you,” Department of Music Chairman Kawachi Clemons told the students during orientation Saturday. “Everyone’s eyes are on us right now.”

New rules are in place as the band makes its return. No more than 256 students will participate in the Marching 100 this year, compared to the more than 400 that were on the roll before the 19-month suspension. Members must be full-time students and maintain a 2.0 GPA. No student will be allowed in the band for more than four football seasons.

The school hired new staff to ensure the band complies with university policy and to respond quickly to any accusations of hazing.

Junior Ronald Gray, from Ft. Lauderdale said: “We’re really focused and understand the job we have at hand. This is bigger than every individual. This is history.”

FAMU gets nod as Best in the Southeast

FAMU was recently named one of the best colleges in the Southeast by The Princeton Review.

It is one of 138 institutions The Review recommends in its “Best in the Southeast” section of its website feature, “2014 Best Colleges: Region by Region.”

“It is an honor to be named as one of the best colleges in the southeast by The Princeton Review,” said FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson.

“At Florida A&M University, we continue to strive for excellence while providing a world-class education for our students.

We take pride in this recognition, and will continue to provide quality education and life skills to our student body.”

From several hundred schools in each region, The Princeton Review narrowed its list based on institutional data collected directly from FAMU, visits to schools over the years and the opinions of its staff, plus college counselors and advisers.