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Virginia Basketball to ‘respectfully decline’ White House invitation following National Championship

Bennett cites scheduling issues as reason for Virginia’s inability for a trip to DC.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Virginia National Championship Celebration Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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: