The coach of the NCAA men’s basketball champion the Virginia Cavaliers said that the team would “respectfully decline” an invitation to the White House.
The team’s twitter account quotes head coach Tony Bennett saying that there have been inquiries about a visit to the White House, but it would be difficult to get everyone back together to make the trip.
“We have received inquiries about a visit to the White House. With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together. We would have to respectfully decline an invitation.” — Tony Bennett
— Virginia Men’s Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) April 26, 2019
Kyle Guy, Virginia’s junior guard and scoring leader, announced on Instagram Tuesday he’s entering the NBA draft, adding he is leaving open the option of returning to school.
Sports Illustrated reported that the team has not yet been invited.
Last year’s men’s champion Villanova did not get an invitation, and coach Jay Wright said that had they been invited, they would not have been able to get everybody together, The Washington Post reported.
However, this year’s NCAA women’s basketball champion Baylor University in Texas has accepted an invitation to the White House and will meet with the president on Monday.
President Donald Trump invited NCAA football champion the Clemson Tigers, and they were served with a spread of “great American food” from fast-food companies, such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King among others, when they visited in January.
Professional sports teams have also had to weigh what to do with a White House invite.
Last March, the 2018 Stanley Cup winner the Washington Capitals visited the White House without Canadian team members Braden Holtby and Brett Connolly.
“You’re a team and you want to stick together no matter what,” Holtby told The Associated Press. “For me, it’s just a personal thing. I believe in what I believe in, and in order to stick to those values, I think I have to do what I feel is right, but that doesn’t make a difference on everyone else’s decision. We stick by every single teammate we have and their decision.”
In 2017, NBA champion the Golden State Warriors were invited by Trump but the president withdrew his invitation when it became apparent that the team was going to pass.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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