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 another."

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 injuries.

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."

 More from ESPN...
Marching band scuffle leads to firing, suspension
A Northern Illinois assistant ...

 ESPN Tools
Email story
Copyright ©2000 ESPN Internet Ventures. Terms of Use and
Privacy Policy and Safety Information are applicable to this site. Click here for a list of employment opportunities at