South Carolina Women's Basketball Team Declines Donald Trump White House Invite

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2017

South Carolina forward A'ja Wilson holds the trophy and coach Dawn Staley points as the team celebrates a win over Mississippi State in the final of NCAA women's Final Four college basketball tournament, Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Dallas. South Carolina won 67-55. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The South Carolina women's basketball team will not be attending the White House celebration of collegiate champions Friday.

According to ESPN, President Donald Trump invited South Carolina, among other teams that won titles last year in various sports, but head coach Dawn Staley declined.

"We did hear from the White House about attending tomorrow's event, but we will not be able to attend," Staley said in a statement, via CNN's Jill Martin. "As I've been saying since our practices for this season started, all of our focus is on the season ahead. The only invitation we are thinking about is to the 2018 NCAA tournament."

South Carolina won its first national championship last April with a win over Mississippi State in the title game. Staley, who spent a decade in the WNBA and won three Olympic gold medals as a player, said in May she would have no problem meeting with Trump if given the opportunity.

By September, however, she had still not received the invite.

"We haven’t gotten an invitation yet and that in itself speaks volumes," Staley said, per Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press. "We won before those other teams won their championships. I don’t know what else has to happen."

With the 2017-18 season now underway, the coach doesn't believe there is time for any more distractions.

The Gamecocks are currently 3-0 and have a home matchup against Wofford on Sunday.