Luke Heimlich, a junior left-handed pitcher for Oregon State University, was expected to be selected early in the 2017 amateur draft. However, it was recently revealed by the Oregonian that the now 21-year-old Heimlich was a registered sex offender as a result of pleading guilty to repeatedly sexually molesting his six-year-old cousin when he was 15 years old.
Heimlich’s case went into Oregon court records for the first time when he missed an annual update in April. And once that became public, his story became known to the baseball world.
As a result, ESPN’s Keith Law said on Outside the Lines that Heimlich has been taken completely off many teams’ draft boards. He said, “Every team I spoke to — which is not to say all 30 teams, but a sampling of the teams — all said they had taken him off the board entirely. They would not draft the player because of the revelations of the criminal past…”
In the past, teams have been very lenient towards people who have committed sexual assault, so it’s at least good to see that many teams are not willing to reward a player just because he’s good at throwing a baseball. If a team were to select Heimlich, it would be subject to questioning and since the lefty is still years away from being a potentially marketable star, it’s a risk most teams appear to be unwilling to take.
The Pac-12 Network is already bracing for that scrutiny as OSU advances through the 2017 Division I Men’s College World Series. Deadspin’s Patrick Redford reports that the Pac-12 Network sent out an internal memo instructing employees to avoid talking about the Heimlich situation entirely. The memo said, “Do not engage in the discussion,” and later added regarding questions that may be asked, “Regardless of the question, do not engage.” And while OSU granted Heimlich’s request for time off, it hasn’t said or done anything at all, really, beyond offer general public statements.