Too soon for FAMU’s Marching ‘100’ to return

Everyone is familiar with the catchy voice of Joe Bullard that introduces the incomparable Marching “100.” Alumni, students and fans from all over fill seats at Bragg Memorial Stadium with flashy orange and green attire. Rattler pride seems to sway effortlessly from left to right and front to back during games.

The Marching “100” is undeniably great. It always seems to send a rush of rhythm into my body. The confidence the band has in the stands and on the field flows into my system while I cheer. I sometimes get so hyped that I think that I am one of the dancers with the glittery leotards.

Although it gets me fired up, the hazing of Robert Champion remains a fact. Six months ago, he, too, was part of the band that played such cool beats. On Nov. 19 after the Florida Classic in Orlando, Champion died as a result of what authorities are calling a hazing ritual. So far, Orange County officials are still investigating the case. Maybe the entire band didn’t haze him, but all members must face the consequences for the actions of a few. That powerful line from the movie Drumline, “one band, one sound,” definitely matches this situation. The band is a unit and must work as one. If one member falls, they all fall. I think the university is doing the right thing by suspending the band’s activities.

I am trying to picture how the stands will look when the Marching “100” isn’t there to play. The crowd usually dwindles immediately after halftime anyway. I can imagine how much Rattler pride will stand through an entire game without the band.

With or without the Marching “100,” our Rattler pride is what counts. This is the time that our fangs should be poised to strike. I hate when people say that the band is what makes this university.

It doesn’t. I’m sorry to tell you, but there are talented athletes who live, eat and sleep football. Many students work hard each and every day to continue building on Florida A&M’s great legacy. They too have worked all semester long to make big wins.

The band is not tackling, making touchdowns or catching outrageous passes.

Football players are. Other universities rarely count on its marching bands to bring in fans.

It’s sad that we do. Without a doubt, the Marching “100” is a part of FAMU’s history. But we must always remember that “when the dark clouds gather on the horizon… the rattlers will strike, and strike and strike again” whether the band is on the field or not.


Maybe the band will be ready to return to the field next spring. However, it’s just too soon to move on.