DECATUR, Ga. (CBSMiami/NSF) — A Florida A&M University drum major who died in what authorities suspect was a hazing incident, will be laid to rest Wednesday in Georgia, just one day after state officials announce they’ll join the investigation into his mysterious death.
Robert Champion, 26, was found dead November 19th on a bus parked outside an Orlando hotel after the school’s football team lost to rival Bethune-Cookman.
Champion, a clarinet player who recently was named drum major, had been vomiting and complained he couldn’t breathe shortly before he collapsed, according to police.
The cause of Champion’s death hasn’t been determined. Preliminary autopsy results were inconclusive, and a spokeswoman with the Orange County medical examiner’s office said it could take up to three months to learn exactly what killed him.
Authorities suspect hazing but have not released any more details about what may have led to Champion’s death.
Champion’s family attorney says a “culture of hazing” lead to his death, but he and Champion’s relatives wouldn’t discuss details.
Tuesday, Florida’s University System Board of Governors announced it will conduct its own investigation into Champion’s death.
Board Chair Ava Parker said in a letter to FAMU officials that she was troubled by reports that recently fired Marching 100 Band Director Julian White had alerted university officials to hazing but received little support.
Chancellor Frank Brogan will oversee the investigation and will look into whether “university administration took appropriate action to address the hazing activities referenced by Dr. White,” Parker wrote. Her call for scrutiny follows ongoing investigations by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”