President Trump to honor NCAA teams Friday; Gamecocks say no to invite

While the White House said President Donald Trump will host collegiate sports championship teams Friday in Washington, the South Carolina women's basketball team will not be among them.

Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said Thursday that her team has declined an invitation and instead will focus on the season ahead.

"We did hear from the White House about attending tomorrow's event, but we will not be able to attend," Staley said in a statement. "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 White House said NCAA teams will attend a reception at the executive mansion, but it did not provide a list of the teams attending.

South Carolina is 3-0 on the season after Thursday night's 66-36 win over Clemson. The Gamecocks next play Sunday at home versus Wofford.

When South Carolina won the school's first national championship in April, Staley said the team would go to the White House because "it's what it stands for. It's what national champions do."

But in September, Staley told the Associated Press that the Gamecocks had yet to receive an invitation, "and that in itself speaks volumes." Staley then added that she wasn't sure if the Gamecocks would even accept the invite after "some things transpired over the last few months."

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.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.