The South Carolina women's basketball team has declined an invitation to visit the White House following its 2017 national championship, according to The Post and Courier.
Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said Thursday the decision was not a political one, but rather a scheduling conflict that arose. The invite for Friday, when the White House is set to hold an event honoring NCAA champions happens to fall on the same day Staley says her team needed to practice.
"We did hear from the White House about attending tomorrow's event, but we will not be able to attend," Staley said. "As I've been saying since our practices for this season started, all of our focus is on the season ahead. The only invitation we are thinking about is to the 2018 NCAA Tournament."
In September, Staley said that her team had not yet received an invitation to attend the White House "and that in itself speaks volumes," according to the Associated Press. In the weeks following her team's national championship, she said her team would visit the White House "because it's what national champions do." She later recanted and said her team may not even accept an invite, with the caveat that her stance was taken before "some things transpired over the last few months."
President Trump hosted the 2016 national champion Clemson Tigers at the White House in June, however North Carolina, the 2017 NCAA men's basketball champion, never made the trip citing the fact that both sides could not agree on a visit date. Donald Trump rescinded an invitation to the 2017 NBA champion Golden State Warriors after multiple players, including Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, came out in opposition of visiting.