Baylor basketball is first women's team to accept Trump White House invitation

Coach Kim Mulkey (L) and the Baylor women’s NCAA championship basketball team present U.S. President Donald Trump with a jersey during a visit to the Oval Office at the White House April 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images) 

The Baylor women's basketball team accepted an invitation to visit the White House, making them the first women's team to have a championship celebration by President Donald Trump.

The team, who won 2019 NCAA Division I Championship, met with Trump on Monday. He had previously congratulated the team on their win.



USA Today reported that Baylor coach Kim Mulkey previously said the team wouldn't view the invitation as "a political issue." "I’ve been every time for every president," Mulkey told The Associated Press. "It’s an honor to go to the White House. I want everyone to say they went to the White House. Not many people can say that."

This comes in the wake of the Virginia men's basketball team declining an invite from Trump on Friday after winning the men's national championship earlier this month.

"With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together," Virginia coach Tony Bennett added. "We would have to respectfully decline an invitation."



White House invitations have become a tradition over the years, but many teams have decided not to accept them under President Trump, especially female athletes. One of the first NBA stars to notably decline a visit was Larry Bird, who said to Ronald Reagan in 1984, “If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me.”

In 2017, the South Carolina women's basketball team declined an invite, saying their focus was on the upcoming season. It's not clear if Notre Dame, the 2018 national champions were even invited. The previous WNBA championship teams, Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm, didn't receive an invite.

On the men's side, no NBA team has ever visited the Trump White House, due to the Golden State Warriors winning last two titles. The Warriors were uninvited after their star player, Stephen Curry, declined Trump's invite and spoke out against him in 2017.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank had called Trump a "real asset" to the nation, with Curry responding "I agree with that description if you remove the -et" from asset.

The last two men's NCAA national champions, Villanova and North Carolina, didn't attend for various reasons. Villanova declined, and North Carolina had a scheduling conflict.

The Baylor Lady Bears won the NCAA Women's basketball championship in a thrilling 82-81 win over Notre Dame -- their third title in school history. They previously visited the White House in 2005 under George W. Bush and then met with Barack Obama in 2012.

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