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Virginia’s national championship basketball team will not celebrate title with White House visit

Virginia may have capped off a storybook 2018-19 men’s basketball season with its first national championship, but it won’t be celebrating its historic run at the White House.

Just over two weeks after his team topped Texas Tech for the title, Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett announced Friday that UVA will not be part of the tradition of championship teams visiting the U.S. president at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“We have received inquiries about a visit to the White House,” Bennett said through a school statement. “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.”

This year’s women’s basketball champions, the Baylor Bears, have accepted their invitation to the White House and will meet with President Donald Trump, per reports. But the Cavaliers aren’t the first team to pass on a trip to Washington, D.C. after winning it all in recent years.

The Villanova Wildcats announced in 2018 they would not be visiting the White House after coach Jay Wright suggested the team hadn’t gotten an invitation as of eight months after their championship. The same year, the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles did not visit after Trump rescinded the team’s invitation and replaced the event with a patriotic ceremony. In 2017, Trump also withdrew an invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

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