Nearly two years after the FAMU hazing death of Robert Champion, the university plans to announce Thursday whether its troubled marching band will travel to Orlando next month and perform for the first football game of the season.
Florida A&M University is scheduled to be in town for Disney's MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Sept. 1.
Alumni, fans and others have been anxiously waiting to hear whether school officials will allow the famous Marching 100 to perform during the fall 2013 season.
Until recently, the band had been suspended while the university reorganized its music program and launched a host of changes designed to stamp out hazing in the wake of drum major Champion's beating death in Orlando in November 2011.
FAMU lifted the suspension in late June, but the administration could not say when the ensemble would be allowed to perform at public events and athletic games.
The band's new director, Sylvester Young, will make an announcement at 10 a.m. Thursday regarding the band's first performance. FAMU said the first performance might be at the Sept. 1 game against Mississippi Valley State.
It's still unclear when the school will decide whether the band will perform — or at least make an appearance — at the annual Florida Classic on Nov. 23.
The Classic, the last game of the season, is a major fundraiser held in Orlando that pits FAMU against its longtime rival Bethune-Cookman University of Daytona Beach.
Champion died after being pummeled by fellow band members during a hazing aboard a charter bus after the Classic on Nov. 19, 2011.
The Classic has been known as the nation's largest football game between two historically black colleges. But only about half the crowd showed up for last year's game, likely because they knew the Marching 100 would not be there.
The high-energy battle between the FAMU and Bethune-Cookman bands at halftime is the Classic's main attraction.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5470.