Austin Hatch to move to medical scholarship, serve as student assistant

Dylan Burkhardt

Michigan freshman Austin Hatch will move to a medical scholarship next season and serve as an undergraduate student assistant.

Full University Press Release below:

University of Michigan men’s basketball head coach John Beilein and freshman guard Austin Hatch announced today (Monday, April 27) that Hatch will alter his position with the men’s basketball roster by moving to a medical scholarship and becoming an undergraduate student assistant.

“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.”

A well-documented survivor of two plane crashes, Hatch came all the way back after sustaining life-threatening injuries to enroll at U-M this past fall. He made his return to the basketball court official in his third game of the season against Coppin State (Dec. 22). Hatch entered the game and recorded his first career point on a free throw after being fouled. He played in a total of five games this season.

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  • Chillax

    Finally, some relief

  • Josh

    When is Brown supposed to be announcing? Sometime this week right?

    • Chillax

      yeah he said by the end of this month. I have to imagine this is a good sign

      • jake

        I honestly think we have a very good chance of landing Brown, that would be a hell of a pickup!

    • There’s no date set for Jaylen’s announcement.

  • Updated scholarship chart

    • Matt

      When you look at the scholarship chart for 16-17 and the heights of the players, it is pretty crazy. The front court is going to be very crowded unless some of those guys can play the 3.

      • MAZS

        I see 4 guys who can play the 3–Irvin, Dawkins, Robinson and Chatman. Now Irvin might not be here. But another 3 (and another point guard) should be high on our list of needs.

        • Ryan

          Dawkins plays better at the 3 if I remember correctly. The numbers support him playing the three anyways

          • Offensively, the three and the four are identical positions — just on opposite sides of the floor.

            Last year, it was usually Zak Irvin that had to defend opposing fours, not Dawkins (who lacks the size/strength).

          • MAZS

            damn, I meant to mention the 3-4 meme.

          • Matt

            None of the names you guys are mentioning here help the log jam in the front court, especially if the 3/4 continue to be interchangeable.

          • Matt

            With Doyle, Teske, and Davis at the 5, we would need Donnal, Robinson, Chatman, and Wilson to be able to play the 4/3.

          • And I think 3 of those 4 guys project to the 3/4 right?

            The key is if Irvin as a senior plays the two, which seems reasonable after his close to the season. Here’s Beilein on Wilson today:

            ‘If DJ (Wilson) plays in the middle, it’ll probably be the only year he plays in the middle.’

          • geoffclarke

            Makes sense. I think this year, with Bielfeldt gone, we need Wilson most at the 5, but the following year, I definitely see a lot of the players sliding up on the roster: Abdur-Rahkman spending more time backing up the 1, Irvin playing more 2, even Chatman playing some 2. Let Wilson and Wagner battle at the 4 with Chatman when he’s not at the 2. Dawkins and Robinson at the 3. Going to be fun!

          • Matt

            That would be ideal. It’s just a question of if those guys can develop to the point where there are effective at those positions. Good to see Beilien confident in Wilson as a wing.

          • psickert1

            You forgot Wagner.

  • Dr_ZC

    Well, I guess I was wrong, no shame admitting it, especially when this is an excellent indication that a high profile recruit (e.g. Brown) is coming to Michigan.

    • MAZS

      I don’t think this indicates anything about Brown or Williams committing. The medical waiver has been in process since the end of the season–simply awaiting the NCAA to approve. It does explain why and how we were able to continue to recruit despite being full.

  • bobohle

    Jaylen Brown come on up. You will indeed be the final piece to a Championship Contender.

  • AADave

    Very disappointed that Hatch won’t be an active player anymore. But it sounds like he made the best decision for himself so that he could focus on academics. If Hatch was pressured to take this route purely to open up a roster spot, I think it would be a huge negative for the program. I hope that wasn’t the case.

    And it seems as if he’s very close to being able to play at this level. Maybe it’s wishful thinking. I would hope that a medical scholarship can revert to an athletic scholarship if he improves further. Is that the case? It would be in the best interest of student-athletes but the NCAA seems to prioritize money over the welfare of student-athletes.

    • You can’t revert back to an athletic scholarship and that’s not really a money thing as much as it is a competitive fairness thing. Instead of redshirting people you could just put them on medical for a year and then recruit over them, essentially circumventing the 13 scholarship limit.

      • Chris De Sana

        So to better understand his playing career is over? No option to be on the active roster unless of course it is as a non scholarship player?

        • MAZS

          I guess two questions I have. 1. Could he return as a non-scholarship walk on? 2. Could he transfer and play at a Division 3 school if his health improved?

          • Beilein said this afternoon that if his health improves they could try to petition the NCAA to provide a waiver/override.

      • MAZS

        One can only imagine what schools like Kentucky would do in basketball, and OSU and Alabama in football if this were not the rule.

      • AADave

        Elevating “competitive fairness” above what’s best for the student-athlete Is just wrong. It loses sight of the university’s core mission – helping train/educate student-athletes. It’s the same with making student-athletes sit out a year when transferring. Very destructive to the individual and therefore, wrong. And the NCAA is totally hypocritical on these issues. It doesn’t make coaches sit out a year when changing schools. It allows schools to pay multimillions for facilities and coaches. How does this square with the idea of “competitive fairness?” I could go on and on. What a joke.

        • I just don’t see how allowing a kid to keep a full scholarship, tutoring services, every other benefit that a student-athlete receives after a career ending injury is a bad thing.

        • psickert1

          You just don’t get it do you? He still has his scholarship. He still has the benefits. He just can’t play basketball again. He had serious injury.

          People Complain about recruits being 4 year bench warmers well that would be the case with Austin. He would iou ls never be able to play basketball like he Once did.

          Can you Please Stop moping and realize that this a win win for the darn program.

          Yeah I know I annoy many posters but I don’t care. He honored his scholarship just like he did Ben Cronin. Other schools will not do this.

          A medical scholarship is a scholarship…. Stop crying!! Please. Pool people complain about everything.

    • Dr_ZC

      I guess we will never know what was behind this decision. Haters will be haters, and there will find opportunities to criticize the program for that, I am sure. In one of the programs on TV Austin stated that he will never give up improving to be in the form he was before the accident. This was his motivation. Perhaps he realized he will never be at the level he was, and he was the one volunteering for the medical scholarship. The good news is that he will be with the team and practice with them while he focuses on academics. He bad news is that he will never be in uniform for UM.

      • Austin will meet with the media this afternoon so we’ll get some more insight. There’s also a video interview at

        • bobohle

          I watched that it was very sincere both ways

    • psickert1

      I swear to GOD some of you posters really irk me. You don’t know what happened behind closed doors and I am pretty sure noone was pressure to do anything. Anytime you guys can bring a negative vibe to a situation, you do it. I hate that. The kid more than likely OFFERED.

      THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO AUSTIN HATCH IS EDUCATION AND NOT BASKETBALL. I better you are one of those get Jaylen Brown by any means but when a opportunity comes you want to Nope and be disappointed about it. Would have rather Donnal or someone transfer?

      Freaking fans are always complaining about something. Smh

    • psickert1

      He was not pressured to do anything. I don’t understand why people are evening thinking that. He is allowed to focus on academics. Isn’t that more important than athletics? I just don’t get people. Is it academics and graduating more important or would you prefer him to play basketball? Confusion is in the air.

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    Jaylen…the door is open for you. You would sure look good in maize and blue unies :)

  • Retiredat23

    Similar to Max Bielfeldt, I’m sure the “decision” was a very polite way of saying “We really need to open up this scholarship, so we’re going to. But we can still let you be a part of team activities even though you’ll never play again.” Except in Max’s case, they just didn’t honor his 5th year, like they did for J-Mo, but probably kindly said “we need to open up this scholarship for a better player, so we’re going to”.

    I hope I’m wrong, but if not I don’t like it. I’ll take my chances with Caris & the team with Austin on it rather than ditch Austin’s ability to ever play again at the university just to have a shot at Jaylen.

    • UMTigersWingsLions

      Maybe Austin wants to do it for the team. Maybe he wants to get Jaylen in too. He is a very nice guy, so I can see that.

    • psickert1

      I’m sure that you are just assuming. Hatch has brain damage and honestly he was never going to contribute. He is a smart kid but I’m pretty sire that he was using sports to get a education and eventually become a doctor. Belie is not the type to say ” we need too to go to medical so we can open up a scholarship” and as far as Max goes… he has a chance to go elsewhere and Contribite. This decision was mutual because broken said putting Hatch on medical was not a option earlier… I think hatch offered. Stop assuming.

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    Thank you, Austin. You are a great guy..For everyone that says that says awww shucks, and boooo. Quit the BS. You know and he knows he isnt ready for this level, and would ride the bench. He probably begged coach JB to do this, to go after Jaylen or Kenny.

    • JVS

      All speculation as to whether or not this is Austin’s preference, but I really hope it is. If its not, this feels cold, especially after reaping the PR from his inclusion on the team. Glad he gets to keep all of the benefits of the scholarship/tutoring/etc, but its still a step back for him relative to last year. Just hope it was more than him being perpetually selfless and him actually wanting to dial down the time commitment. No one knows what his preference was, so I can’t boo anyone else’s view, and I also don’t mind being considered in the “aww shucks” camp, but just want as much as possible for the guy after what he’s had to endure, and if playing even 1m/game meant a lot to him I wouldn’t want it taken away if he preferred that opportunity (and i’m not blind to the potential performance improvement this could create w/Williams/Brown). Not popular opinion i’m sure, but my reaction anyway.

      • Retiredat23

        My reaction echoes yours. I hope it was his decision, but I find it hard to believe that it truly was.

        • MAZS

          So let’s change this a bit because I think you are singling out Austin for special treatment. Let’s say Dawkins and Chatman both blow out their knees so bad that they cannot play competitive (or at least Division I) basketball again. Do we continue to suit them up for 3 more years on an athletic scholarship or do we honor our commitment to them by keeping them on scholarship albeit on medical hardship? It is really the exact same thing except for the celebrity circumstances of Hatch’s injuries. In fact, my hypothetical is closer to the normal situation in which the medical redshirt is applied. I don’t believe we owe Austin any more (or any less) than any other player on the team. You just don’t like the optics more than the actual fairness.

          Austin wasn’t going to ever contribute on the court for Michigan. I am sure this is commonly known in the program and, almost certainly, by Austin himself. Austin keeps his $40K a year scholarship. I believe he can continue to practice with the team–this year’s managers did. He gets to travel. He gets to sit on the bench. He gets to “coach”. He gets to remain a part of the team. Arguably, the only thing he loses is pre-game warm-ups and a minute or two of game time a couple of times a year. That’s a pretty good gig. I suspect Austin appreciates it. While I certainly can understand your sentiment, if you believe Austin is being treated unfairly, then you have a much lower opinion of Beilein than I.

          • JVS

            Agree with most of what you’ve said and i’m not debating fair/unfair. It is part some personal preference for wanting Austin to get the situation he prefers even if he can’t contribute (and it would be personal preference if I felt that way with AD/KC) – fully acknowledged, and much of it optics which I think we quickly took advantage of last year (when he could also have been on medical – a key difference with your analogy), and now seem a bit to be portraying as “whats best for him” when its equal parts or more actually whats best for the program. I don’t blame JB for that, i think its poor positioning from a comms standpoint.

            If someone said “hey we have an immediate need to use Austin’s scholarship so we moved forward in discussing this option with him” it would feel more genuine. And me wanting Austin to get options to choose his situation is personal bias – fully admitted.

          • MAZS

            I think the optics were thrust upon us. I doubt Beilein courted them. Last year we had an open scholarship for Hatch; plus I suspect the staff wanted to get a year to see whether Austin was likely to ever contribute.

            I ask again if you believe we should treat other players, like Chatman and Dawkins, differently in the scenario I gave above? Or is it just Austin?

          • JVS

            Thought I answered that quite openly and honestly, twice actually, above, but lets try it again: If Kam came in in Austin’s situation where in year 1 it was known what his deficiencies were, was on the team, and then in year 2 it was taken away b/c at that point it was needed? yes I’d feel the same. If any player played one year, and tore their knee, I would see that as at least “event-driven” and not as subjective interpretation. But if you read what I wrote above, I agree that what you’re saying is generally logical, but I just find the management of the optics very off-putting and it seems you feel less strongly.

          • They discussed a lot of it here

            I found the fact that he was struggling in school when he was traveling interesting. That’s a lot to balance with a full course load and practices, etc. Having watched a few practices in the summer, Hatch would really only participate in a few drills at the start and warmups and then sit off to the side during most of the other stuff.

            Kid was incredibly driven, but need to be smart. Here’s Beilein’s quote.


          • suavdaddy

            I am sorry – but your hypothetical is just not the same at all so please stop making it. The dude fell out of a damn plane and has not been the same since. I am not sure what planet you are on that was not the event on which this analysis was based. It just happened before he arrived at Michigan than during the season. Honestly can’t see people not acknowledging that point – once that happened the odds of him playing D1 basketball again were slim to none.

          • JVS

            While I generally don’t try to engage with people who are malicious with their comments when I’m just expressing an opinion, its probably worth clarifying in case my comment is deemed in any way insensitive… My ‘event’ comment was meant to clarify the difference between knowing someone’s medical situation before they arrive at school and then deciding when to push this button vs someone getting injured btw Y1 and Y2 where clearly new information is then available. Not “my hypothetical”, but rather one I was asked to give a veiw on. Suavdaddy, feel free to be as critical as you’d like, but I hope you at least understand what you’re criticizing.

            And if not already clear after saying it in each post — If AH is happier with this outcome, so am I but no one (myself included) should presume to know if that’s the case.

          • suavdaddy

            So we should have pulled Hatch scholly when he fell out of the plane? Doubt you are saying that. Instead the scholly was honored and he was brought on the team and now has a full ride nonetheless. I just really do not understand the criticism here in anyway…based on all I hear, unfortunately, the kid can no longer compete on a D1 level. That is sad. But that means he should keep a bball scholarship instead of a regular scholarship? Makes no sense and I’m not sure how the athletic scholarship angle is justifiable. Please explain.

          • JVS

            its nice to know we’ve moved from “what planet are you on?” to “please explain”. I’m not saying they “should have” done anything and was just responding to someone’s question about how I think about the situation relative to a contributing player being injured. I’m saying that i hope Austin is happiER with this outcome, and if not I think they are forcing the optics as it “being better for him” to a level that rubs me the wrong way.

            Read that last sentence again (and again if you really need to). If it still causes you to be upset, I’m sorry that I can’t help you.

        • UMTigersWingsLions

          Sir, I love your loyalty. I am loyal to UM though, and whats best for the team. Not in the caretaking business. I would love you in my foxhole..but wouldnt we be better off with a machine gun, rather than a pistol? Sorry if the analygy hurts. He still gets everything, and can still practice with the team. He just wont be able to play on the court.

        • psickert1

          As long as the kid is getting his darn education, everyone should be Happy. He still has a scholarship and he still is part of the dang on team. I’m am beginning to get irritable reading these post.

          You are acting like they kicked him to the freaking curb. He can focus on academics and become some more than a basketball player.

          Once again he is NOT kicked off the team. I wonder why you didn’t complain when Ben Cronin had the same thing done to him ?

          Maybe I won’t read your post anymore for blood pressure sakes.

          • Retiredat23

            Please don’t read my posts anymore, I wouldn’t want your head to explode.

          • psickert1

            Don’t worry I won’t.

    • Retiredat23

      Wow. So….he went to work every day last season, pouring out sweat and tears, just for the chance to get dropped from the team for another player he’s never met eh? And he begged for this to happen? You sir, are brilliant.

      • UMTigersWingsLions

        Its not about that. Its about he isnt going to play at this level. he knows that i’m sure. He’s taking one for the team.

      • Carmine Finelli

        Knowing Austin I can almost guarantee that’s what he did. Austin is an extremely smart and realistic kid and I can guarantee you that he has the team’s best interest in mind. He will still be a part of the team and have just as much impact on the players as he had last year. So not only is your comment idiotic, it’s also plain wrong. He is not getting dropped from the team, did you even read the article?

        • Retiredat23

          Thank you Carmine.

      • bobohle

        If you saw the video on M go You would have heard that Austin could not do much besides shoot free throws and shoot baskets. He could not participate much in regular practice. Austin said it was pretty much his idea after he found out how the Medical Scholarship worked.

    • Retiredat23

      He states at least twice that Coach Beilein brought up the idea of the waiver to him. He didn’t ask for it or “beg” for it as your original comment stated. He said “coach told me I wouldn’t be able to go in to games with a minute left”. I realize he’s fully okay with it now that I’ve watched the video on and it probably is the best decision for all parties involved. My original concern was that it wasn’t Austin’s idea to begin with, and he confirms it wasn’t (because he didn’t know about it), but he’s more than okay with it – happy with it in fact. I think the Ben Cronin example helped him understand its use and that he’s not the only one to go this route. Hearing that he would have to stand around for hours at times while the other guys did drills was unfortunate, and this medical waiver will prevent that from occurring again and again.

      My iinitial fear of coercion on the coaching staff’s part to prod him to a decision he maybe didn’t want to make was incorrect and I stand corrected. This is the best decision for all parties and a bright spot in the decision making of the NCAA.

  • psickert1

    It’s irritating to see some posters complain about anything and Every after wanting anything and everything . Some people are never Happy, even if it actually benefit the kid. First you want top talent by any means and suggested that they give a medical scholarship to Austin Hatch and then you sit around cry and complain about it when it happens.

    These fans don’t know what they want. They are program to complain, complain about any and everything. If Mortiz Wagner commits they complain because there’s no room for Brown. If Austin Day CNN is commits they complain about too many big men and competition level. If Brown goes elsewhere people would complain that we didn’t put Hatch on medical scholarship to make room..


    Complain again. Complain some more.