The 2019 National Champion Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball team will not be making a trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the school announced Friday afternoon. In a released statement, Coach Tony Bennett explained that scheduling would make things difficult for a trip to the White House.
"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
It’s unclear whether the team has received an official invite at this point, but Virginia has four players declared for the NBA draft in De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, and Mamadi Diakite.
Virginia is the latest in a line of men’s basketball teams to decline a White House invitation. After going to visit with President Obama in 2016, the Villanova Wildcats reportedly did not receive and invitation after its title in 2018. North Carolina declined to make the trip after its National Championship in 2017, also claiming scheduling problems.
On the women’s side, Dawn Staley’s South Carolina Gamecocks turned down the invitation in 2017, and the 2019 champs, Baylor, will become the first NCAA basketball team to meet with President Trump.
The Virginia Men’s Tennis team made the trip alongside 17 other NCAA title winning teams in 2017. In January, Clemson football was famously served fast food on silver platters when they visited the White House during the government shutdown.
A couple of the current and former players had opinions on the Cavaliers not making the trip:
Not surprising. No chance Coach Curtis would let one of the guys eat a McDouble https://t.co/JJsyei1NU2— Evan Nolte (@EvanNolte) April 27, 2019