Virginia Men’s Basketball Will Not Go to the White House

It was not clear how Virginia reached its decision, but one member of the university’s powerful Board of Visitors — its version of a Board of Regents — said Saturday that the board as a whole had not been involved. The decision, though, was not that surprising to some Virginia supporters who are among the president’s sharpest critics.

“Trump has turned everything into a culture war,” said Terry McAuliffe, the former governor of Virginia who was in office during the deadly riot in Charlottesville. “The symbolism of the University of Virginia basketball team from Charlottesville going to the White House to see a president who condoned the racists, bigots and anti-Semites? I’m very happy Tony made this decision.”

McAuliffe, who attended the N.C.A.A. championship game in Minneapolis, said he took Bennett “at his word” regarding scheduling, but he said the coach had little choice.

“You cannot put Donald Trump and the word Charlottesville together again,” he said. “He failed us that day, he failed Virginia, he failed America and he failed the world.”

Virginia is the latest addition to a growing number of basketball champions — among Division I men’s, Division I women’s, the N.B.A. and the W.N.B.A. — to skip the White House during the Trump administration, though some were never officially invited. In fact, the Baylor’s women’s team will become the first basketball champion from those four leagues to visit Mr. Trump.

In contrast, former President Barack Obama, a serious basketball fan, hosted many champions in the sport during his eight years in the White House and is known to play golf with Curry.

While champions in several other sports, both college and professional, have visited the White House during Mr. Trump’s tenure, basketball is perhaps notable for its dominance by African-American players and more progressive fans.

As of early Saturday afternoon, Mr. Trump had not publicly addressed Virginia’s announcement.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*