The University of Virginia men’s basketball team has declined an invitation to attend the White House and meet President Donald Trump after winning the 2019 NCAA Championship, it was announced Friday.

UVA’s coach, Tony Bennett, tweeted that the team wouldn’t attend the capital. On the UVA Twitter account, he wrote: “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.”

UVA beat Texas Tech in April to win its first NCAA men’s championship. Multiple pundits came out in support of the move, most notably former 2016 U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia). Kaine tweeted: “UVA b-ball is built on 5 pillars: Humility, Passion, Unity, Servanthood, Thankfulness. Trump has 3 pillars: I, Me, Mine. Good call Hoos!”


During Trump’s tenure, White House visits have become anything but a sure thing, especially compared to how they were under Barack Obama. Previous NCAA basketball champs Villanova and North Carolina also declined to visit Trump’s White House.

In January, Clemson‘s visit to the White House became a spectacle after Trump served their football team fast food due to the government shutdown. Trump’s comments about the white supremacist rally in August 2017 in Charlottesville — where the University of Virginia is located — which recently resurfaced after the president defended himself, also likely impacted the Cavaliers’ decision to not visit the White House.

In pro sports, the Golden State Warriors declining a White House visit in 2018 sent the NBA and the President into an uproar. The Boston Red Sox would do the same this year. Many players on the Philadelphia Eagles also refused to visit the White House after winning the Super Bowl last year.

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