Georgia will forgo the White House visit to celebrate their 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.”
“Timeline-wise it didn’t work,” he said.
Smart explained there is a youth football camp in June at the football facility and made it impossible to accept the invitation for what is being called “College Athlete Day” on June 12.
“We didn’t have a date set, and we’ve got 700 kids at a football camp at our place June 6, 7, 8,” he said. “It’s the number one time for recruiting for football coaches. 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. 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.”
Smart called the opportunity to visit the White House educational and noted that in the past the celebrations were usually after the season while most of the student-athletes were still on campus. The LSU football team was the last team to visit the White House.
“Unfortunately, the date suggested is not feasible given the student-athlete calendar and time of year,” Georgia’s athletic association said in a statement Tuesday. “However, we are appreciative of the invitation and look forward to other opportunities for Georgia teams moving forward.”
UConn men’s and LSU women’s basketball will visit the White House on May 26.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.