Austin Hatch Takes Medical Scholarship

Submitted by Ace on April 27th, 2015 at 10:26 AM

[Bryan Fuller]

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.



April 27th, 2015 at 10:30 AM ^

literally put on a clinic as to how to deal with a situation that delicate from beginning to end.  Once again, not one single coach in the country I would want coaching Michigan over him.


April 27th, 2015 at 10:38 AM ^

I know the consensus, before he got here, was that he would take an medical redshirt right away, but the fact that Beilein allowed him one year to get on the court and make a basket, means he knew better than any of us.  

It's awesome to have such a good basketball coach at Michigan, but it's even more amazing when you realize what a great human being we have coaching at Michigan. 


April 27th, 2015 at 10:44 AM ^

look at the smile on Bielien's face in that picture above.  It looks like it meant more to Bielien than it even did to Hatch! 

That is the kind of thing you can't fake.  Just like the smile he had after the final buzzer in the Kansas game.  JB cares about his players in a different way than I really think I have ever seen with a coach, and I am not saying that as hyperbole.


April 27th, 2015 at 10:31 AM ^

while not having to spend 90% of his time on basketball, yet still be a part of the team. not a bad gig. I'm sure he would rather have both, but he is destined for great things regardless. Thank you for being you, Austin.


April 27th, 2015 at 10:34 AM ^

...but Hatch is an inspirational figure in a way that goes beyond sports.  I'm not sure I can even fully comprehend everything he's been through, and he's struggled on with class and grace that few people could muster.  He is already something bigger than a D1 basketball player. 


April 27th, 2015 at 10:37 AM ^

I tell you what: I have seen some pretty awful stuff in my life, especially growing up. I still cannot fathom how this man has done what he has done. Everyday he wakes up and continues to accieve a degree from Michigan and a possible career in Basketball is a miracle. Seriously, I can't comprehend how he does it. I hope I get the chance to buy him a meal or a drink or something someday. 

Yinka Double Dare

April 27th, 2015 at 10:38 AM ^

I'm glad he gets to pursue what he wants to do while staying involved with the team, and I look forward to seeing him start on Senior Night in a few years, because there's no way the NCAA isn't giving Michigan a waiver for that.

The FannMan

April 27th, 2015 at 10:42 AM ^

I can't quite describe my reaction to reading Austin's comments.  While I realize that this is a prepared media release, I was still more than impressed.  I know there is a no religion rule and all, but God bless that guy.


April 27th, 2015 at 10:42 AM ^

Your story has been an inspiration to me and hopefully many others. To have so much adversity in your life and be able to overcome it and still be successful in what you have always wanted to do should be a lesson to everyone: life can usually always be worse, be thankful and keep keeping on! Go Blue!!!


April 27th, 2015 at 10:42 AM ^

I look forward to seeing Austin on the sideline as a manager. I know his father would be proud of his decision, and I bet most of us feel that same pride. Kudos to you, young man.

Michigan man through and through.


April 27th, 2015 at 10:56 AM ^

Austin is such an inspiration and great ambassador to Michigan, and he's only a freshman! His heart is with Michigan and our hearts are with him, always.

UofM Die Hard …

April 27th, 2015 at 10:57 AM ^

as I feel a lot of them are viewing this blog from time to time.  Austin if you are, good luck man, you have more guts and determination than any of us on this blog.  

Keep grindin, get that degree, and live a great life.  You're the man!


Hail to the Victors!


April 27th, 2015 at 11:02 AM ^

brings me great sadness. I had so hoped to see Austin continue to recover and progress to at least his pre-accident level. This decision will likely be a good thing for both Austin and the university, but I regret that I won't get to see Austin in a Michigan uniform anymore.
Thank you Austin, for continuing to be a great inspiration for all of us. You are a true Michigan Man.


April 27th, 2015 at 11:06 AM ^

The only negative about this news is that it killed my dream that Austin Hatch will shoot the game winning 3-point shot for UM in the NCAA Championship when he is a senior and fully regained his strength.  Part of me wished that JB will continue to keep him on the roster for a flicker of hope that Austin Hatch might just play a role in the basketball court and perhaps even made the NBA.  Well, may be Austin Hatch can become our basketball coach in 2030!

Everyone Murders

April 27th, 2015 at 11:22 AM ^

This is a wonderful instance of everyone involved having done, and doing, the right thing.  Beilein gave Hatch the opportunity to be on the team and worked to get him playing time, knowing those milestones were important to Hatch and the team.  Hatch presumably gave his all, made tremendous progress physically and mentally, and represented the school fantastically well.

And now, both are doing what is best for Hatch and the team.  They are doing it collaboratively, and having Hatch as a student manager is a terrific outcome.  I don't know what Hatch's future career goals are, but if being a high-level basketball coach is one of them I sure wouldn't bet against him.

Well done, Mr. Hatch!  Well done, Coach Beilein!


April 27th, 2015 at 11:46 AM ^

If Austin Hatch's career aspirations include coaching at some level in the future, I can think of no better teacher / mentor to have than John Beilein.  Student Assistant for the University of Michigan men's basketball program and a letter of recommendation from John Beilein will be some mighty fine credientials to be carrying around when he graduates.

True Blue Grit

April 27th, 2015 at 11:49 AM ^

Austin can concentrate on getting his Michigan degree while staying involved with the program.  The program benefits by having him around and helping others.  And it frees a scholarship for someone else to become a Michigan Man as well.  I'm extremely proud of the way Coach Beilein, Austin, and the University has handled this situation. 


April 27th, 2015 at 12:11 PM ^

Beilein did this the right way.  Austin was able to be a part of the team and was able to step back into a medical scholarship so that he could focus on his academics.  I can imagine in a few years, Austin might be looking at medical school to follow his dad's footsteps or perhaps even at coaching to continue making an impact in lives on the basketball court! 

Naked Bootlegger

April 27th, 2015 at 12:22 PM ^

Thanks, Austin.   Thanks for being a class act.  Thanks for working your ass off against steep odds to make it back on the basketball court.  Thanks for showing your obvious love of our university.  Thanks for being part of the UM family.   Thanks.



April 27th, 2015 at 12:58 PM ^

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