In a statement, Georgia cited the date that the White House suggested, which was June 12, as the reason the Bulldogs turned down the trip.
“It’s a tough deal. Timeline-wise it didn’t work,” Smart said. “Traditionally, I went three times when I was at Alabama and it was right after the game. That didn’t happen. We didn’t have a date set and we’ve got 700 kids at a football camp at our place June 6, 7, 8. It’s the number one time for recruiting for football coaches.”
Smart went on to further explain why visiting in June isn’t feasible, adding that skipping the White House was not at all political.
“You’ve got 600 to 700 kids coming to your campus, you can’t leave to go to the White House and have no one on your campus,” Smart said. “So the time just didn’t work out. There was nothing political about it. I’ve been before. It’s very educational. It’s a great experience.”
Georgia beat TCU 65-7 in the national title on Jan. 9, capturing its second consecutive national title.
The victory came with several perks for the Bulldogs, including receiving an invitation to the White House, which Georgia ultimately had to turn down.
White House to host multiple national championship winning teams
While Georgia won’t be attending the White House, several other national championship teams will.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, there will be a “College Athlete Day” in Washington D.C. on June 12. Had the invitation been accepted by the Bulldogs, they would have not been the only team on site.
Dellenger states there will be additional information released by the White House in the coming days.
Two teams have already accepted their invitation from President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, with both coming from basketball. UConn men’s and LSU women’s basketball will visit the White House in late May following their March Madness triumphs.
Iowa women’s basketball was thought to maybe receive an invite following their run to the national championship game. But head coach Lisa Bluder decided to decline the offer, saying the tradition of only the champion visiting should continue.
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