Bethune-Cookman’s Donovan Wells Plays Sour Note With Comments on Marching 100 Hazing
The Orlando Sentinel recently reported on an increase in interest from high school students wanting to join the Bethune-Cookman Marching Wildcats marching band. In the article, BCU Band Director Donovan Wells said that he believed the increase was a direct result of the suspension of the Florida A&M Marching 100, and that he wouldn’t accept transfers from the 100 into the Wildcats’ ranks.
Publicly, Wells says he doesn’t want the “controversy” of the Robert Champion murder and its resulting scrutiny to find a place in his program. Privately, I’m sure he doesn’t want the prospect of Marching 100 transplants with allegiances to FAMU to transmit performance secrets back to Tallahassee and the Marching 100, regardless of the Rattlers’ suspension being extended to 2013.
But is it a low blow to give any statement on the issue, whether in honest commentary or in a seemingly slick play to stoke the heated rivalry between the two bands?
It’s hard for Wells to emerge from this story without appearing to take some satisfaction in his band gaining from FAMU’s misfortune. Even though that misfortune was caused by the reckless minds and hands of misguided musicians in the Marching 100, no comment Wells could give about the Marching Wildcats seeing positive gains as a result of the Marching 100′s suspension could make him appear anything more than petty.
The Orlando Sentinel, in the past few months, has exposed the number of ineligible players in the FAMU band on the day of the hazing death, revealed detailed information of parent and internal concern about band hazing at FAMU, and has called for the firing of FAMU President James Ammons. They’ve also offered no discernible perspective on the case with any theme other than FAMU paying dearly for the death of Robert Champion.
The Sentinel has shown that it will enhance its investigative prowess on the FAMU hazing case, and has been among the loudest voices in the public mob calling for sweeping changes at FAMU. What more perfect precursor for change in Tallahassee than to show how Daytona Beach benefits as a result?
Donovan Wells fell right into the trap.
Wells’ perspective fit perfectly in the Sentinel’s very apparent plan to discredit a fellow HBCU, and makes him appear as an uninformed major player in a rivalry that must take a backseat when the subject is FAMU’s uncertain reality.