Athletic Department Response, Re: Austin Hatch Donation

Submitted by MGoBender on July 13th, 2011 at 12:18 AM

I emailed the athletic department regarding Austin Hatch's teammates giving away (and accepting donations for) "Austin is my brother" wristbands:


Hello Mr. Ablauf,

I was unable to find a contact email for compliance on the athletics web site, so if this question is better suited for someone else, please feel free to forward it on. posted a story (linked above) about Austin Hatch's high school teammates giving out wristbands in support of Austin.  They are also accepting donations on his behalf.  Myself and some friends would like to purchase (donate) in support of Austin, yet we are worried of potential NCAA violations.  Would you have any information on whether or not there may be issues with donating to this cause, since Austin is a Michigan recruit?

Thank you,

BS, LSA '10


Dave Ablauf's response:



Thanks for the email. I wanted to respond to your email and hoped I would have been able to by now but we still haven’t heard back from the NCAA. Our compliance office is working with the NCAA to find out what we can do or tell our loyal supporters in regard to donating to a fund for Austin. We still don’t have an answer back from the NCAA at this point. I appreciate you contacting us to make sure you weren’t doing something that affecting the University. We will be in touch once we getting an interpretation from them.


David Ablauf | Associate Athletic Director | Public & Media Relations
University of Michigan Athletic Department


So right now it seems like we should probably wait and hope for a response from the NCAA.



July 13th, 2011 at 12:46 AM ^

Edited post:

Dave Brandon needs to just come out with Jim Delaney and say, verbatum, 

[If the NCAA has a problem with this] I'll be shocked and disappointed and on the offensive. Unless something new arises from where we are today, it'll be behavior (from me) you haven't witnessed.

and then put up a big donation to whatever foundation gets made.


July 13th, 2011 at 7:50 AM ^

The NCAA has to draw a stiff line when it comes to these things.  If there were any gray areas, they would certainly be exploited. 

For example:  What if Hatch wasn't injured, but he still lost his parents?  We would still want to show our support.  Unfortunately, there are boosters out there who might see it as an opportunity to firm up his commitment. 

The scenerio has some similarities to what OSU is experiencing right now.  A casual observer (or staunch OSU supporter) might think it's ridiculous that players can't sell items deemed to be personal property.  However, it gives boosters an opportunity to over compensate for that property just as boosters could over compensate in the form of donations for a tragic event. 

Exceptions should, and likely will, be made. It sucks that a decision isn't coming faster but I think that it has to do with the NCAA approaching this cautiously.  There are logistics that need to be worked out.  How will it be monitored?  What kind of precedent will they be establishing?

So I disagree with you. DB doesn't need to do or say anything except:

We are working closely with the NCAA to make sure that all I's are dotted and T's are crossed. We are confident that we will come to an agreement as to what will be considered allowable donations. Until then, please be patient.


July 13th, 2011 at 1:19 PM ^

The problem is that the longer they wait for an answer, the less money in donations will be collected. The very simple solution, IMO, is to make an organization, say, "The Austin Hatch Recovery Fund" file for 501(c)(3) status and pledge the leftover money (if there is any) to Mott or something similar.


July 13th, 2011 at 2:08 AM ^

This is the most recent update:



We celebrate every 'small victory' as Austin continues to progress.  He's healing with the loving care of medical experts!  Austin even has his blue "Kobe" shoes on (size 15) and looks ready to work.

God is always great.  Your prayers are felt and will always have an incredible impact.  We also pray for all of the families who have experienced tragedies recently.


July 13th, 2011 at 1:28 AM ^

You guys have taken this thing way to far.  You have Cam Newton taking almost 200K and Cars being loaned out to every football player and his mom that wants it and the NCAA can't find evidence that something bad happened or proof or whatever.

You guys actually think that they would give a shit about random people, many of which have no association with any university, donating to a kid who is in critical condition because at one point he was a commit? As Stan would say, "Really? Really?"  Basically what you are saying is that NO person who is a graduate of any university who has an athletic department should donate to the nonprofit that will benefit Austin? Or does anyone around here have any common sense?


July 13th, 2011 at 1:59 AM ^

"As a University of Michigan season ticket holder, a UM alumnus or a member of any booster organization, you are by NCAA definition a representative of UM’s athletics interests. UM is held responsible for anything you do related to UM’s prospects and/or our current student-athletes.

You MAY NOT become involved in arranging for a prospect, a Michigan student-athlete or their family to receive gifts, money or financial benefits of any kind."


July 13th, 2011 at 8:54 AM ^

. . . donating to a kid who is in critical condition because at one point he was a commit? . . . Basically what you are saying is that NO person who is a graduate of any university who has an athletic department should donate to the nonprofit that will benefit Austin?

What do you mean "at one point he was a commit"? Austin Hatch is still a Michigan commit, and he'll remain so unless his status as a commit officially changes. (Not that his having made a verbal commitment changed his status in the eyes of the NCAA in any way—he's still a prospective student-athlete.)

Also, although Austin's teammates are accepting donations on his behalf, that sounded to me like an informal venture—not the opportunity to donate to a specific fund set up on Austin's behalf. The NCAA is likely to require that a specific fund be set up before allowing any donations, and that the funds be earmarked for specific uses. There is a bit of precedent here in that the NCAA bylaws allow universities to "provide or arrange" fund-raisers for student-athletes in "extreme circumstances": Miscellaneous Benefits. An institution may provide or arrange for the following benefits for a student-athlete: (Adopted: 4/26/01)

. . .

(g) Fundraisers for student-athletes (or their immediate family members) under the following extreme circumstances:

(1) Extreme circumstances should be extraordinary in the result of events beyond the student-athlete’s control (e.g., life-threatening illness, natural disaster);

(2) The proceeds must be designated for a specific purpose (e.g., payment of medical bills, purchase of medical equipment, replacement of items lost in a fire, etc.)

(3) The proceeds may not be given directly to the beneficiaries, but must be disbursed through or paid directly to another entity, with receipt kept on file by the institution; and

(4) The excess proceeds must be given to a not-for-profit organization with the receipt kept on file by the institution.

What's needed here isn't common sense but (as Bosch suggests above) patience—patience to wait for a fund to be set up and patience to allow the NCAA some time to establish guidelines for donating to it.


July 13th, 2011 at 8:57 AM ^

I'm glad you posted this i was awaiting something as well to how I could proceed in participating in this.  Either way prayers aren't off limits so lets keep those flowing at a high level.


July 13th, 2011 at 11:56 AM ^

I'd like to see someone actually see what the donations are going to do before I gave anything. Are they paying medical bills beyond insurance (I'm guessing that he was covered under his father's plan, which, as a doctor, was likely fairly comprehensive)? Are they beyond the estate to cover? Are they covering living expenses (as I'm not sure who Austin has to live with at this point)?

Donating "for Austin" sounds great, but when I see that the organizers are a bunch of his HS friends, I start wondering if anyone really even knows what specific costs this money is going to, or even if the money is needed.


July 13th, 2011 at 12:34 PM ^

an answer from the NCAA.  This is a pretty rare case and I think the NCAA would rather sit on their hands then set a legal precedent knowing that the Tressel/Saban/Calipari's of the college world are always looking for loopholes to expolit.  I think the best thing to do is just hold off on all donations.  Hopefully those in his community and others with no college sports connection will take care of providing any funds neccessary to help Austin in his recovery.