The Deadly Tradition
Producers: Josh Fine, Nick Dolin and Jake Rosenwasser
Among the most entertaining spectacles in college football is the game-day performance of the school band. Shockingly, behind the tradition and prestige of marching bands at historically black universities is a longstanding ritual of violent hazing, where bandmates hit, strike and even beat their counterparts. Two years ago, REAL SPORTS correspondent Frank Deford revealed some of the troubling incidents that led to the suspension of students and band directors, with victims filing and winning lawsuits. Yet the callous practice continued largely unabated. Last fall, at Florida A&M University, which was included in the Nov. 2010 report, drum major Robert Champion died after brutal hazing. Now, Deford leads HBO's cameras back to the campuses to ask: Despite countless warnings, why does this dangerous initiation custom continue?