FAMU's Marching 100 returns to the Classic this weekend
The annual Florida Classic weekend kicks off Friday in Orlando and will draw attendees from across the nation. At the center of attention, though, will be the newly reactivated Florida A&M Marching 100 band. This will be the first time the band has played at the Classic since drum major Robert Champion was hazed to death on a bus after a game against rival university Bethune-Cookman two years ago.
This year - there will be some dramatic changes. The 350-plus band has been whittled down to less than 150 members. New rules for band participation now include that you must be a FAMU student, maintain a 2.0 GPA and students can no longer participate in the band for longer than four football seasons.
Additionally new staff have been hired to make sure these rules are implemented and ensure hazing doesn't happen. Fox 35 spoke with Champion's parents who offered a prayer for their son and their hope was that FAMU students will stop hazing.
"Because my son lived a good life, we want to remember him by -- making sure that not another kid in this country, no more bullying, no more hazing, that our kids can go to school anywhere in this country and won't have to feel fear," Champion's dad said.
Champion's parents have a web site and foundation called "Drum Major for Change," dedicated to end hazing at FAMU.
The school is also changing the title of drum majors to field commander, in honor of Champion.