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FAMU Hazing Trial Begins Monday, Champion's Parents Talk To Katie Couric

Champion parents.JPG
Ida Asute/Disney-ABC Domestic Television

Eleven people accused in the fatal beating of Florida A&M University (FAMU) drum major Robert Champion are scheduled to go on trial this Monday.

They’re facing felony charges of hazing resulting in death.

All are connected to FAMU’s famed Marching 100 band, which has been suspended indefinitely.

The hazing happened after a football game in Orlando last November.

Champion was beaten during a ritual known as Crossing Bus C: a band member walks through the bus as students throw punches, kicks, and more.

Champion died soon after the hazing. He was 26 years old.

With the trial just days away, Champion’s parents sat down with Katie Couric on her talk show “Katie.” Their interview will air today.

Robert Champion Sr. said his son never mentioned the hazing ritual involving the percussion section of the band.

“It’s just kind of hard to believe that at this particular time he felt like he needed to gain the respect,” Champion said.

“You’re talking about a child that would march around in the driveway with a broom stick out in the open where everybody could see him, and his sisters would make fun of him, but he didn’t care because it was what he wanted to do.”

Champion’s mother talked about the organization the family created in his memory.

“The whole purpose of that foundation is to end hazing as we know it today,” Pamela Champion said. “It’s not just a FAMU thing. It’s not just my thing. It’s in every university, every school... So the whole thing is to get rid of that mentality.”

The suspects going on trial Monday could each get up to six years in prison if found guilty.

Two more band members are charged with misdemeanor hazing that could result in a year in jail.

Fallout from Champion's death:

  • Thirteen people are facing charges.
  • FAMU's Marching 100 is suspended. Guest bands and other entertainers are now playing during football game halftimes.
  • FAMU band director Julian White retired and FAMU President James Ammons abruptly resigned.
  • Administration discovers that more than a hundred Marching 100 band members were not enrolled at FAMU.
  • School enrollment is down.
  • FAMU creates anti-hazing website and hotline for witnesses to report suspected hazing incidents.