When it comes to the MLB Draft, UCLA Baseball has grown accustomed to having players poached from their recruiting class when MLB teams opt to draft players who are graduating from high school.
It isn’t common to have UCLA Football’s recruiting class impacted by the MLB Draft. But, that could happen today.
An article published yesterday on NJ.com suggests that the Bruins may end up losing tight end signee Matt Alaimo if he is drafted high enough by an MLB team. The article indicates that the Alaimo family has spoken with, at least, the Cincinnati Reds organization.
While Alaimo wasn’t selected yesterday, he could certainly get drafted today.
There is one part of the article which is somewhat head-scratching. JJ Conrad, the writer of the article spoke with Alaimo’s father Charlie. The article states:
Matt’s father said that playing both sports at the college was an option “at some schools,” including Pitt, “but he doesn’t have that opportunity at UCLA,” despite being one of the top high school baseball players in America.
By now, you may have heard the story which has made the rounds about how Chip Kelly learned about Kazmeir Allen. The story goes that Kelly approached UCLA track coach Avery Johnson and asked who both programs were recruiting together. The result was that Kelly learned about Allen and he eventually committed to UCLA.
Given that it sounds like Kelly would be open to having a running back potentially run track, I don’t see why he would preclude one of his players from pursuing baseball at UCLA as well.
Of course, UCLA has a long history of student-athletes playing two sports. One of the more recent examples was last year when Eldridge Massington was on both the track team and the football team.
It doesn’t appear to be a problem on the baseball side. An April 19th LA Times article by Eric Sondheimer quotes UCLA baseball coach John Savage:
We are always looking for two-sport guys. They just appear to be able to adapt to situations a little quicker. The toughness they can bring is always a boost to the team concept. We have had some really good high school football/baseball players in our program.
So, this begs the question as to why Alaimo doesn’t seem to have the option to play both sports at UCLA.
Bruins Nation reached out to UCLA for an explanation as to why playing both sports at UCLA is not an option for Alaimo, but no response was received by the time of publication. This article will be updated in the event that an explanation is provided.
All of this may prove to be a moot point due to the economics of the situation.
The NJ.com article ends with another quote from Charlie Alaimo:
As a family, it would have to make sense for him to give up a full ride to UCLA. What would make sense? I don’t even know right now. The Reds came in and sat down with us and threw some numbers at us. If the numbers they threw at us come true, I think he’s going to wind up playing baseball. It’s just got to make sense. UCLA is a $63,000-a-year school and he could be there 4-5 years, if he redshirted one, so you’re looking at $300,000 right there. It’s just a matter of the signing bonus and seeing what that is, if it works out.
Considering that Alaimo’s bonus would likely be less than $140,000 which is the slot value for the final pick of yesterday’s tenth road, it doesn’t appear that the numbers will make sense.
But, it just seems odd that UCLA wouldn’t allow him to play both sports.