|« JMU Woos FBS QB||Prominent local business man makes donation to JSU's Tiger Sports Initiative »|
Spiders’ national-title team waits for White House invitation
Has Barack Obama spurned the Spiders?
The University of Richmond’s 2008 Football Championship Subdivision team has not been invited to the White House for a meeting with the president. Division I national-championship teams from many sports typically receive invitations. Coaches and players shake hands with the president, surround him in a semicircle and smile for the photo op.
But Richmond hasn’t heard a word from the leader of the free world, or his staff.
“To the best of my knowledge, we have made inquiries through unofficial channels,” said Jim Miller, UR’s athletic director. But nothing is brewing, Miller added.
According to the NCAA’s managing director for football and baseball, Dennis Poppe, the NCAA “does not have any policies pertaining to White House trips, other than they are permissible, and the invitations are issued at the discretion of the White House staff.”
During the past several months, Division I national-championship rowing teams, rifle teams, track teams, swimming teams and others have been part of White House ceremonies. Virginia Union’s 2005 Division II national championship men’s basketball team received a White House invitation, though the Panthers were honored guests at a music celebration and not greeted by President George W. Bush.
The 2008 Navy football team, recognized for winning head-to-head football competition vs. Army and Air Force, hobnobbed with Obama at the White House.
Appalachian State captured three consecutive FCS titles (2005-07). None of those teams was invited to the White House. James Madison did not visit Washington following its 2004 FCS title.
The Times-Dispatch attempted to clarify White House policy regarding visits via e-mail and telephone. The White House has not replied.
JOHN O’CONNOR TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published: April 29, 2009