Georgia will forgo visiting the White House to celebrate its college football national championship, and on Wednesday Kirby Smart insisted there was no political motive behind it.
Smart told the Athens Banner-Herald that the inability to accept the invitation was a «tough deal.»
«As far as the timeline, it didn’t work out,» he said.
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Smart explained that there is a youth soccer camp in June at the soccer facility and made it impossible to accept the invitation for what is called «College Athlete Day» on June 12.
«We didn’t have a set date, and we have 700 kids at a soccer camp at our location on June 6, 7 and 8,» he said. «It’s the number one time to recruit football coaches. You have 600 to 700 kids coming to your campus, you can’t go to the White House and have nobody on your campus. So time just didn’t pass.» It didn’t work. There was nothing political about it. I have been before. It is very educational. It is a great experience».
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Smart called the opportunity to visit the White House educational, noting that in the past the celebrations tended to be after the season, while most student-athletes were still on campus. The LSU football team was the last team to visit the White House.
«Unfortunately, the suggested date is not feasible given the student-athlete schedule and the time of year,» the Georgia athletic association said in a statement Tuesday. «However, we appreciate the invite and look forward to other opportunities for Georgia teams to move forward.»
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UConn men’s and LSU women’s basketball will visit the White House on May 26.
Associated Press contributed to this report.