Michigan guard Austin Hatch to become student assistant
Hatch, a survivor of two plane crashes that claimed the lives of his family members, gained national attention last season when he overcame life-threatening injuries to enroll at Michigan last fall. He played in five games last season, beginning with the Dec. 22 game against Coppin State when he scored his first point on a free throw.
"This is, and has been, a very difficult decision; one that we have been discussing with Austin over the last few months," Beilein said in a release. "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."
Beilen added that "the only real change will be that [Hatch] will no longer be on our active roster" or play in games.
Hatch, a Fort Wayne, Ind., native who attended Loyola High School in Los Angeles, won the USBWA's Most Courageous Award last season.
"Basketball has always been a huge part of my life; however, it is what I play, not who I am," Hatch said. "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."
- Mike Fiammetta