this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
The basketball program announced today that Austin Hatch will move to a medical scholarship and transition to a role as a student assistant. This means that while Hatch's playing career is over, he stays on full scholarship and enjoys all the other benefits of being part of the program. From the official release, which was accompanied by a longer feature:
"This is, and has been, a very difficult decision; one that we have been discussing with Austin over the last few months," said Beilein. "Together, we made this decision at the end of the season and have been waiting for approval from the Big Ten for his status change. With the request for a medical exemption waiver approved (April 27), we are ready to move forward with the next steps in Austin's career."
"Over the past year, we closely observed Austin's academic and athletic progress. In the end, Austin and our staff agree that the waiver is the proper next step. This change allows Austin to devote the necessary time he needs to be successful in his studies and obtain a Michigan degree. We also wanted to be sure we continued our commitment to Austin keeping his full scholarship in place for the next three years. This waiver allows for both.
"What makes this move equally important is, with NCAA rules, it allows Austin to continue to be a valuable asset to our team as a leader, mentor and assistant. As a student assistant coach, Austin will be allowed to continue to be engaged in our practice and training and to travel with us when it can fit into his academic schedule. The only real change will be that he will no longer be on our active roster or allowed to play in games.
"Austin remains an important part of our program and culture, even if we do not have that chance to see him compete again."
"Basketball has always been a huge part of my life; however, it is what I play, not who I am," said Hatch. "It was a goal of mine to return to the game that I love so much and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to play for Michigan. After all that I have been through, it was a dream come true for me to put on a Michigan jersey and get into a game at Crisler Center.
"As I have progressed through this first season, I know that I am not where I want to be, both academically and athletically. My priority is academics and I feel that it is in my best interest to devote more time to my studies. This decision honors my father, and it is something that I know he would agree with and be proud of me for making.
"Coach Beilein, the staff and my teammates have been so understanding of my situation. They have supported me through everything I have been through and I now view them as part of my extended family. My words cannot, and would not, adequately express my gratitude for all they have done and continue to do for me.
"I am honored to be, and will be, a part of the Michigan Basketball program going forward -- in whatever capacity my studies allow me to be. I am a Michigan Wolverine for life. Again, I am honored and truly grateful that I am in a position to say that."
Hatch played in five games during his freshman season, tallying points in an exhibition against Wayne State and a regular-season game against Coppin State.
Hatch's move to a medical scholarship opens up one scholarship for the 2015-16 season, and Michigan is in continued pursuit of 2015 prospects Jaylen Brown and Kenny Williams. The Wolverines have been rumored to be in Brown's top two, while Williams is planning an official visit. (Max Bielfeldt's imminent departure also opened up a spot, which was taken by Moritz Wagner.)
Ramifications for next season aside, it was an honor and a pleasure to cover the team as Hatch took the court last season, and it's great to see he'll continue to be an integral part of the program moving forward.
We talk Caris LeVert, Real Sports segment, Harbaugh satellite camps, Jaylen Brown's top two, and Craig falsely accuses me of not wearing pants. I wear pants at all times, usually multiple pairs.
Here's the Orange Bowl video I talk about midway through BTW:
THE USUAL LINKS
Brian has already covered Jim Harbaugh's Troll God move from, uh, one perspective. Given this is now the biggest news on an otherwise quiet Friday in the college football world, I wanted to take a closer look, so here's a list of the various aspects of this that are just the best.
1. THIS IS BRILLIANT
Purely from a recruiting perspective, this is innovation at its finest. SEC coaches are publicly complaining about Michigan's cross-country tour of satellite camps, the one recruiting loophole the SEC can't exploit? Fine, make them all look petty:
There are two ways opposing coaches, SEC and otherwise, can react to this. They can sit out the camp, missing out on a recruiting opportunity and appearing afraid of competition in the process. Or they can attend, therefore contributing to Michigan's camp becoming a massive draw for recruits. This isn't a decision Nick Saban will enjoy making, and that goes doubly so for Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio. Harbaugh essentially blackmailed the college coaching world into making his program's camp a premier event.
It's not just smoke and mirrors, either. If Michigan is able to get even a handful of well-regarded coaches to participate, it'll be hard to deny Michigan the "Exposure U" tagline they've attached to this project. Getting the program to have the reputation as the place to get noticed would be a huge boon for recruiting.
2. IT'S ALREADY WORKING
Bob Stitt is in! Somebody check on Brian!
@CoachJim4UM I'm in! Thx for the invite!
— Bob Stitt (@CoachBobStitt) April 24, 2015
In all seriousness, this move should attract plenty of innovative smaller-school coaches like Stitt, and it's always a positive to expose the coaches to new and different ways of doing things. Urban Meyer may not be down to discuss the finer points of running power out of the shotgun, but Stitt could give some advice about incorporating the fly sweep; recruiting doesn't have to be the only aspect of the program that benefits from this.
3. THIS COULD POTENTIALLY HAPPEN
I'll give $50 to MSU beat reporter who asks Dantonio after spring game if he'll go to UM's camp. Make it $100 if its first question of day.
— jamie mac (@justcoverblog) April 24, 2015
I'll happily ante up, as well.
4. ADD TO THE HARBAUGH LEGEND
Harbaugh is the rare college coach whose views and actions aren’t motivated by fear, particularly of what others are doing.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) April 24, 2015
Harbaugh made a power move (the satellite camp tour), SEC coaches pushed back, and instead of making any sort of concession, Harbaugh made an even bigger power move. As evidenced by Wolken's tweet, this is going to play well in the media, and you can bet recruits will take notice, as well. In the court of public perception, this is a decisive win. Harbaugh turned a nothing Friday into a day to grab headlines.
There will be no stake-related apologies.
5. MOTION TO MAKE THIS THE SITE TAGLINE
I'll be ending all my conversations, formal and informal, in this manner from now on.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) April 24, 2015
Find a bridge, and look under it. There you will find something you did not expect: a crude charcoal figure in the shape of the man. On certain nights when the moon lances through the overpass just right and strikes the figure at just the right angle, the markings take on a three dimensional aspect.
As you're squinting, wondering why it looks familiar and kind of pisses you off, Harbaugh, Master Of The Toll, will step forth from the rock to answer one question you have. I have been across this nation's highways and byways, searching out the dwindling numbers of his worshippers. Pushed out by EZ-Pass and foreign purchases of American roads, the United States troll is literally at a crossroads.
They ask him about inflicting pain on the country that spurned them.
He told them "form a country duo that sings about comin' to your citayyyy."
He told them "tell 'em it's about ethics in gaming journalism."
He told them to make a website on which anyone can talk to anyone with a 140 character maximum.
He told them to run athletic departments like conglomerations of mining interests.
He told them to name something "The KFC Yum! Center."
Yes, with the exclamation point smack in the middle of it. He is diabolical.
I sought him. I invoked daemons of minor annoyance. They told me that sitting outside in some nice weather and watching something approximating a football game was the sign of a diseased mind, but they also told me where to find him. The bridge was old and rickety, all but abandoned. Long ago a chunk of wood had been clattered free, so the light at this bridge was direct and fulsome. After a time, Harbaugh stepped forth from the charcoal.
I said I had a job for him.
I said he would find glory, and he was uninterested.
I said it paid very very well, and he bridled.
I said he could follow in the footsteps of the all-troll who birthed him from a cauldron of spite, and he took one half-step towards me. I knew not whether I had made progress or a terrible mistake.
I said that all the football coaches in all the land would gnash their teeth and shake their NCAA-mandated chains and wail and wail and wail, that entire fanbases of people would rise up in one agglomerated mass of incensed powerlessness, that even the greatest and mightiest of football would feel their bile rise uncontrollably at his visage.
He said "I accept."
And then he was gone. Shaken, I began the long journey home under the moon.
Ten nanoseconds after Saban and Swinney cried that high schoolers might get exposed to football programs that actually care what happens to their kids after it, Emmert moved to quickly fix the loophole that allows a football coach from Michigan to ply his trade across state lines.
Harbaugh is already one step ahead:
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) April 24, 2015
World: Wait, you can't create a national college football trade fair at your school.
Harbaugh: Just did.
Jim Harbaugh is legend.
FOR WANT OF GLENDENING
Luke Glendening blocked a shot into the neutral zone to seal his own spin-o-rama shorthanded goal as a game-winner to steal Game 1. Red_Lee was so inspired that he created this:
Last night Glendening's Red Wings were cruising to a 2-0 victory (that should have been 4-0 given the play) and a 3-1 series lead when Luke ill-advisedly decided to check a guy near enough to the boards to trip the sensitivities of hockey players towards that sort of thing. While everyone else scrummed about them some Lightning players were able to mess up Luke's hand (Aside: amputating a guy's hand when you're trying to recruit him is some seriously Urban Meyer sh--, Darth).
Without Glendening shadowing one of the top-scoring lines in the country, that line put up two quick goals and a third in overtime. Detroit didn't backcheck properly, and just looked, I don't know, unfocused. The parallels to Star Wars are there, but the parallels to Michigan since Luke graduated are eerie.
IF YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF MERCYHURST YOU'RE NOT A FAN (OR YOU'RE NORMAL)
Via Spath, Michigan's been having a hard time getting sexy programs to come to Yost unless they're small schools with Utah football-quality hockey programs. Of these, next year's schedule will host Mercyhurst, Robert Morris and Niagara. I bet you two petty Notre Dame administrators that the Domers were one of the "of note"s here:
Michigan wants to schedule top-tier programs but they couldn't get anyone to come to Ann Arbor this year. Everyone of note wanted U-M to come to their venue. And Michigan couldn't do that or it would have ended up with two non-conference home games. They agreed to Union and BU so that they could get those two teams in 2016-17 at home but then they HAD to have home games, and so some of these teams were more willing.
The sooner somebody puts this intra-state round robin thing together the better.
WORDS HAVE MEANINGS
It's offseason alright, evidenced by the feely threads (and one diary) popping up to define words that already mean specific things. To wit:
- A fan is someone who roots for that team. To date there is only one remotely worthwhile adjective that's ever been applied to "fan" to distinguish levels of fanhood: "Loud."
- An alumnus is someone who attended that school; graduation is not required.
- A graduate is someone who graduated from that school.
Last word for today: if you are a graduate or alum who thinks this distinction makes you more of fan, you are an "asshole."
WIFI NAMES ARE 21ST CENTURY NEIGHBORLINESS
Good ideas for Michigan-themed WiFi names? thread is how I learned about the Linden Street Flamingo Heist of 2011:
Shout out to the guy with "HARBAUGH" in a Columbus complex.
Etc. The Royals are the new Sparties of Major League Baseball.
Your Moment of Zen:
none of the lights none of the lights [Bryan Fuller]
Buried in a release about Michigan playing Minnesota at night is this:
With primetime selections through the networks and Big Ten Conference office now complete, Michigan will not host a night game this season at Michigan Stadium. Kickoff times for the remainder of the 2015 season will be announced in coordination with those partners.
Michigan's choices there were OSU (in November), Michigan State, or a middling opponent like Oregon State, BYU, or Northwestern. None of those are particularly appealing, though I thought a BYU at night might have been fun.