The University of Georgia football team declined a request from President Joe Biden to attend a celebration of their rout win against Texas Christian University in the national championship game.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that on June 12 for “College Athlete Day,” the squad was given the opportunity to meet with first lady Jill Biden. The squad said in a statement that their schedule is already booked up.
“On May 3, the University of Georgia was given an invitation for the Bulldog football team to come to the White House on June 12,” according to the statement. “Unfortunately, the suggested date is not possible considering the student athlete’s schedule and this time of year.”
According to the story, the squad decided not to attend after Republicans as well as team supporters criticized the White House for months for delaying the invitation.
In a letter to the White House in January, the whole Georgia congressional delegation pleaded with the administration to acknowledge the team at its “earliest opportunity.” The organization said that COVID regulations prevented Georgia’s 2021 national champion team from visiting the White House.
“The University of Georgia Bulldogs, the 2023 National Champions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) College Football Playoff, request to be honored in a White House event,” the letter stated. “The Georgia Bulldogs, under the direction of head coach Kirby Smart, finished a historic season by going 15-0 and winning their second national title in as many years.”
The letter subsequently continued, “For years, the President has enjoyed the great distinction of hosting the college football national champion at the White House. The 2021–22 University of Georgia national champion team was unable to visit Washington, D.C. because of COVID-19 restrictions. We really hope that our repeat champion squad will be among the many others that the President has previously recognized.”