Oregon State star pitcher Luke Heimlich has removed himself from the baseball team, according to a press release sent Thursday out by university president Ed Ray.
Ray announced Thursday that Heimlich is no longer a member of the 2017 Beavers squad, as the junior decided not to join the Beavers in Omaha at the upcoming College World Series. The move comes a week after a report from The Oregonian revealed that Heimlich pleaded guilty in August 2012 to molesting a 6-year-old family member. In the wake of the report, Heimlich, who finished the season 11-1 with a 0.76 ERA, was not selected in this week’s MLB Draft, with all 30 teams passing on the pitcher.
Heimlich released the following statement to ESPN through a family friend, in which he acknowledges his decision to step away from the team and announces his plan to rejoin the team for the 2018 season.
“For the past six years, I have done everything in my power to demonstrate that I am someone my family and my community can be proud of, and show the one person who has suffered the most that I am committed to living a life of integrity,” Heimlich said in a statement released by a family friend.
“This situation has caused great pain to my family members over the years and I am devastated that they have to relive it all again so publicly. Today the Oregon State University baseball team is heading to Omaha for the College World Series — something my teammates, my coaches and I have worked for all year and dreamed about for a lifetime. I’m sad to say I am not joining them, because doing so would only create further distraction for my teammates, more turmoil for my family, and given the high profile of the national championship, direct even more unwanted attention to an innocent young girl.
“I want to wish my teammates the best. I hope they understand this decision as my family and I continue to work through this together. My hope is to return to OSU next year as a student-athlete and continue to earn the trust of my community.”
In the university press release, Ray said he supported the decision, as he recognized that Heimlich’s presence on the team would “serve as a disruption and distraction.” He also welcomed the potential for the southpaw’s 2018 return, writing “if Luke wishes to do so, I support him continuing his education at Oregon State and rejoining the baseball team next season.”
While Ray said Oregon State followed both university policy and state and federal laws in its admittance of Heimlich, he announced that the school will review its policies to “consider the possibility that some offenses and situations are so serious that we should no longer let such a student represent the university in athletic competition and other high-profile activities.” He wrote that students with said offenses on their record would still be able to enroll at Oregon State as students, adding that any changes agreed upon would go into effect for the class of 2018.