Villanova hasn’t been invited to the White House since winning the NCAA basketball title in April and likely wouldn’t be able to go even if the invitation were to come, coach Jay Wright said Thursday during Big East media day.
“We probably wouldn’t be able to get everybody together. We’ve lost staff members, we’ve lost players (to the NBA),” he said.
This was the second title in three years for the Wildcats, and the team visited President Barack Obama in May 2016, just weeks after cutting down the nets.
“Two years ago it was the experience of a lifetime for all of us,” Wright said. “It’s just a different time and I understand it. So it is what is.”
Both professional and collegiate teams have backed out or haven’t been invited to the traditional championship ceremony at the White House since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. He has yet to host a basketball team.
North Carolina, the 2017 NCAA basketball champion, said in September of that year that the Tar Heels had been invited but couldn’t find an open date on its schedule. The Golden State Warriors declined to visit in 2017 and weren’t invited to visit after winning the NBA championship again in June.
In the WNBA, the Minnesota Lynx weren’t invited after winning the 2017 title, and the current champs, the Seattle Storm, haven’t been asked to visit but several players already said they wouldn’t go.
Among NCAA women’s basketball champions, South Carolina was invited in November — months after the NCAA tournament — and declined. Notre Dame, the 2018 champion, has not disclosed whether the Fighting Irish have been invited.
Teams from other sports have, however, visited the White House.
Coach Nick Saban and Alabama met with Trump three months after winning the 2018 NCAA football championship. The Houston Astros went to the White House this spring, following their World Series win last fall.
Trump rescinded his invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles in June after learning most of the members of the Super Bowl-winning team said they would not attend the scheduled ceremony.
—Field Level Media