Washington, DC (AP, WLTX) - South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley says her team will not be able to go to an event at the White House Friday honoring college sports champions.
Staley issued a statement Thursday night about Collegiate Sports Champions Day, which President Donald Trump is set to host.
“We did hear from the White House about attending tomorrow’s event, but we will not be able to attend," Staley says. "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.”
The Gamecocks did have a game Thursday night, a 66-36 win over rival Clemson at home.
It ends a controversy that dragged out for several weeks about whether or not the Gamecocks would go. USC and Staley said as of early October, they hadn't been invited for a visit.
The White House says other NCAA championship teams will attend a reception at the executive mansion. One of those will be College World Series Champion Florida.
Trump hosted the 2016 NCAA football champion Clemson Tigers at the White House in June. The University of North Carolina's 2017 national championship men's basketball team said earlier this year it could not agree on a date for a visit.
Trump sparred with professional athletes earlier this year when NBA star Stephen Curry said his championship-winning Golden State Warriors didn't wish to meet with Trump. The feud erupted as Trump was lambasting NFL athletes for kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
© 2017 Associated Press