|Friday, July 13|
Updated: July 16, 9:14 PM ET
Has the day the music dies finally arrived?
|DEKALB, Ill. -- The players tried to take the field, but the
marching band refused to yield.
By the time it was over, a few musicians had been knocked to the
ground, a football player and a coach were under arrest and the
school was apologizing.
The incident occurred when about 20 members of the Northern
Illinois University football team arrived at their practice field Thursday to
find it occupied by a drum corps.
NIU spokeswoman Melanie Magara said the drum corps from
Columbus, Ohio, was practicing at Huskie Stadium for the Drum Corps Midwest, an annual event at NIU this weekend that draws 25 drum corps
from the United States, Canada and China.
John Binkowski, 32, the school's strength and conditioning
coach, approached the leader of the corps, but "the dispute did
not get resolved," Magara said.
Details of just what happened are sketchy, Magara said. "But
from what we know some members of the football team ran onto the
field" while the drum corps was still practicing. "And two or
three of the folks practicing were bumped into, knocked over by
football players running from one end of the football field to
NIU police were called and Binkowski and a member of the team,
20-year-old Anthony Falbo, were arrested and charged with battery,
Magara said. None of the drum corps members suffered serious
The school is investigating the incident. Binkowski has been
suspended from his job without pay and could be disciplined, Magara
said. NIU officials also said the players involved will be
disciplined based on the results of their investigation.
"I am deeply disturbed by this incident and want to personally
apologize to members of the Corps and their families," NIU
President John Peters said in a prepared statement. "There is no
excuse for what happened, and I want to assure all involved that
extremely serious measures have and will be taken to ensure that
those responsible are appropriately restrained and disciplined."
NIU football coach Joe Novak echoed Peters' statements, saying he was "extremely disappointed in the individuals involved."