- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
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The Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Zach Lee with their first pick in baseball's amateur draft on Monday night. On Wednesday morning, Lee took the first steps toward playing football and baseball at Louisiana State University, rather than signing with the Dodgers.
Lee, a right-handed pitcher and quarterback, attended his first summer class on Wednesday morning, according to Bill Martin of Louisiana State media relations, and will participate in football workouts.
Lee is taking classes part-time, rather than being enrolled as a full-time student, an important distinction. As long as Lee is a part-time student, he can continue to negotiate with the Dodgers up until the Aug. 16 deadline.
There has been broad suspicion within the baseball industry that the Dodgers drafted Lee knowing that they probably would not be able to sign him, at a time when owner Frank McCourt is going through a contentious divorce. Executives with other clubs expect that signing Lee would cost at least $6 million -- and that he might not want to sign in any case, because he intends to play football for LSU.
Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White disputed that right after Lee was selected.
"I know this: I'm optimistic we're going to make our best effort, definitely our best effort, to get out there and get this done," White said. "I understand the concern. I've always tried to take the best player."
On Wednesday, LSU football coach Les Miles released a statement that he expects Lee to play football this fall, rather than sign with the Dodgers.
"Zach wants to come to LSU, get a degree and play football and baseball for the Tigers," Miles said. "I met with Zach and his parents today and I think that they are looking at LSU as a great opportunity both academically and athletically.
"Zach is an outstanding student and he's excited about the college experience," Miles said.
Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
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