The beat will go on at Florida A&M University, but administrators must ensure that the beatings do not. They have finally implemented anti-hazing policies to prevent the kind of tragic death that Robert Champion Jr. met at the hands of band mates in the strutting, gyrating Marching 100.

The famous band will be allowed to take the field again in the near future. It was suspended almost two years ago after some members beat, paddled and pummeled Champion, 26, so brutally while on a bus trip in November 2011 that he died.

FAMU President James Ammons resigned.

It’s stunning that it took Champion’s death for the university’s administrators to finally get serious about the dangerous tradition. Ten years earlier, trumpet player Marcus Parker won a $1.8 million lawsuit against other members of the Marching 100 after he was paddled so severely that he suffered renal failure. That tragedy, however, didn’t seem to get anyone’s attention.

After Champion’s death, Gov. Rick Scott had to step in to ensure that the remedial process was transparent and not carried out behind closed doors as a task force misguidedly sought to do.

The Marching 100 is about to resume its fine tradition on the field. It should never return to the shameful off-field tradition of brutality.

— The Miami Herald, July 4

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