HOUSTON – Texas Southern University has suspended its band, The Ocean of Soul, as it investigates a reported hazing incident, school officials said.
The incident was reported to TSU officials Wednesday night and university officials said they immediately gathered to address the report. TSU police are also involved, authorities said in a written statement.
TSU students said they have been hearing that the hazing involved paddling.
"They said it could be rectified between a day and a year," said Gerald Bryant, Jr. who identified himself as a graduate assistant and TSU student band director.
"No one knew at all, even the staff personnel was unaware," Bryants said, explaining that band members were told the program was suspended at the last minute, as they were ready to board the bus to Thursday night's game at Compass BBVA Stadium against Sam Houston State University.
Bryant said there have been no hazing problems within the band. He said this incident is said to be rooted in the trumpet section.
One young woman who asked not to be identified, said the majorettes and flag corps are being punished as well because they cannot perform without the band.
It is widely known that The Ocean of Soul has as many fans as the Tigers' football program.
"It's viable that the band be at the games because without the band the football team doesn't actually have something to go off on," Bryant said.
"It's never gonna' be the same without the band," said Charles Thompston, a music student. "They gonna' need the band."
TSU's season is off to a rough start. They lost to Sam Houston Thursday night 50-to-6.
Texas Southern has a couple of "away" games before the big homecoming game here in Houston against Grambling on October 27th. The half-time performances by both universities are crowd pleasers. Students say they hope the hazing case is resolved by then and the band is re-instated.
The TSU investigation comes in the wake of a hazing scandal involving the death of a Florida A&M University band member last November. University officials eventually suspended Florida A&M’s famed "Marching 100" band through the 2012-2013 school year.