Georgia football team declines Joe Biden White House invitation
The White House will host the Louisiana State University women’s basketball team and the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team, but a collegiate national champion will not be in attendance.
The Georgia Bulldogs football team has turned down an invitation to celebrate their College Football Playoff National Championship title with President Joe Biden in Washington DC due to scheduling conflicts.
“The University of Georgia first received an invitation on May 3 for the Bulldog football team to visit the White House on June 12. Unfortunately, the proposed date is not feasible given the student-athlete calendar and time of year,” the Georgia Department of Athletics said in a statement to the Athens Banner-Herald, part of the USA TODAY Network. “However, we appreciate the invitation and look forward to further opportunities for the Georgia teams to develop further.”
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Georgia defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 65-7 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California in January to secure their second straight national championship.
The Bulldogs did not attend the White House after their 2022 national title due to COVID-19 restrictions. The reigning champions will not be traveling to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this time as many of the team’s students will not be on campus for the proposed date. The team will return to campus for summer training in June.
It is a long-standing tradition for national champions from collegiate and professional sports leagues to visit the President-in-Office at the White House. President Biden hosted the NBA champions Golden State Warriors in January.
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On Monday, LSU announced that it accepted an invitation to the White House on May 26 after dominating Iowa to win the school’s first NCAA women’s basketball championship. President Biden will host UConn in a separate ceremony later that day, which defeated San Diego State to win the school’s fifth men’s basketball championship, the White House said in a statement Monday.
There was speculation as to whether LSU would visit President Biden. After LSU’s win over Iowa in April, First Lady Jill Biden suggested inviting both the Tigers and the Iowa Hawkeyes to the White House applaud advances in women’s sport before returning her comments. Reese, the tournament’s most outstanding player, said she doesn’t accept Biden’s explanation, adding that “if the roles were reversed, it wouldn’t be the same”.
Reese later said she would join her team at the White House after the team confirmed they would visit, although she felt “hurt” by Biden’s comments.
Contributors: Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald