The University of Georgia’s 2023 championship football team recently turned down an invitation to visit the White House.
The team was offered the opportunity to visit with First Lady Jill Biden on June 12 as part of “College Athlete Day,” according to reports, with the team claiming a scheduling conflict.
“The University of Georgia first received on May 3 an invitation for the Bulldog football team to visit the White House on June 12,” the statement said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Unfortunately, the date suggested is not feasible given the student-athlete calendar and time of year.”
The invitation and its turndown by the Bulldogs came after Georgia lawmakers urged the White House in January to recognize the team’s national championship earlier in the year.
The entire Georgia congressional delegation, including all Republicans and Democrats in Congress, signed on to the letter highlighting the university’s 15-0 championship season.
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“We write to request you host the 2023 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) College Football Playoff National Champions, the University of Georgia Bulldogs, for a White House ceremony at your earliest convenience,” the letter read. “The Georgia Bulldogs, led by head coach Kirby Smart, completed a historic season in which they accomplished a 15-0 record and won their second national championship in the same number of years.”
The letter also noted that the team was unable to visit the previous year after winning the first of its two consecutive national championships due to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For years, the college football national champion has had the high honor of being hosted, by the President, at the White House,” the letter later added. “Due to COVID-19 constraints, the 2021-22 University of Georgia national championship team was unable to come to D.C. It is our hope that this repeat championship team can join the many teams prior that have been honored by the President.”
In 2021, the Alabama Crimson Tide football team was also unable to visit the White House following its national championship victory due to the pandemic.
The news comes as the White House recently invited both the Louisiana State University Tigers women’s basketball team and the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team on May 26 to recognize their NCAA basketball championships. LSU’s invitation came after some controversy after the first lady suggested inviting both the Tigers and the runner-up Iowa Hawkeyes in a statement that was criticized by LSU star Angel Reese.