The Florida A&M University Marching 100 will march onto the field with 74 fewer members this week after several students were placed on academic probation Wednesday.
“Several members were made aware of their ineligibility to perform prior to the FAMU vs. Miami game,” said Kimberly Jackson, senior secretary for the Marching 100.
At the start of the school year, the division of bands issued students a pre-drill information packet that outlined the specific academic requirements students must meet in order to perform with the band.
The regulations regarding academics state students must maintain a 2.0 grade point average in order to participate in the band. Freshmen are required to take up to 29 course hours.
Sophomores must work to complete 30-59 hours, juniors must work to get 60-89 and seniors try to complete 90-120 hours.
Ralph W. Turner, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said Band Director Julian White submitted a list of all 329 members of the Marching 100 to the registrar’s office.
The registrar’s office sent back to White a report of all the band students who did not meet the academic eligibility requirement.
Fifty-four students were on the list, therefore making them ineligible to perform based on low academic GPAs.
The registrar’s report also showed at least 20 more students were not actually enrolled in classes or had no valid student identification numbers.
Those students were immediately dismissed from band involvement.
“Most students are not losing their band numbers and positions,” Turner said.
“However, they are restricted from traveling and performing. The students who have been placed on academic probation have the opportunity to rejoin their band mates next semester. They must simply work hard and pull up their grades.”
Travis Roberts, 19, a sophomore pre-dentistry student from Fort Lauderdale, said, “I don’t knock the university for handling the situation, but it just seemed kind of last minute.”
Roberts said he attended two weeks of training and practices before he received the news that he would not be able to perform with the band.
He got the news at a night practice prior to the football game against Delaware State University.
He decided it was best for him to drop the band course until next semester, which is when he hopes to rejoin.
“It is my intention to work with Dr. White and others on campus to give students ample opportunity to pull up their GPAs,” Turner said. “We constantly emphasize to students that their number one priority is to get an education and earn a degree.
“We want students to utilize on-campus learning centers and laboratories so that they can return next semester to perform,” he said.
Turner spoke with White concerning the impact of performing with a reduced amount of members and was told the band will be able to perform at “a high level of excellence.”
The absence of the more than 70 members will require the band to rearrange some drill formations and fill spatial arrangements.
Turner wants to keep the morale of the band high.
The band has the support of the provost and FAMU Interim President Castell V. Bryant, Turner said.
“This is not a closed-door situation for students who are ineligible,” he said. “It’s just something we must do to make sure the Marching 100 stays viable.”
White was unavailable for comment.