A White House invitation extended to the University of Georgia Bulldogs was declined by the team due to an undisclosed scheduling conflict, according to Just the News. The invitation was for June 12, dubbed “College Athlete Day” by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. The day goes back to George W. Bush who welcomed nonbasketball and nonfootball teams to the event.
Georgia athletic association released a statement saying that the date conflicts with the team’s schedule, according to CBS. The statement did not specify what conflicts, but the outlet notes that the White House event comes around the time when athletes are undergoing more rigorous workouts. Eight high school recruits are also expected to be enrolled.
Visits to the White House reportedly occur closer to when the championship was won. Since winning their second consecutive national championship against Texas Christian University by 65-7 in January, 25 players have either graduated, joined the NFL, or through a transfer portal. Invitations to the White House usually occur sooner to avoid these major changes to the roster.
Because of previous safety precautions, the last team to visit was Louisiana State University in January 2019 under President Donald Trump. But other teams have made the trip under Biden, including the Atlanta Braves in 2021. The NCAA men’s and women’s championship basketball teams are also expected to attend on May 26.
June 12 anticipates various other championship teams across divisions.
The tradition of inviting teams to the White House reportedly dates back to 1865 when President Andrew Johnson “hosted the Brooklyn Atlantics and the Washington Nationals of the National Association of Base Ball Players.”
The Trump administration saw a particularly divisive time when it came to inviting teams. In 2017, after Steph Curry said that he did not want to meet him, Trump disinvited the Golden State Warriors.