Picture of South Carolina Women's Basketball Team NCAA Champions
Credit: University of South Carolina Women's Basketball Team /

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the winners of the Shade Championship. The University of South Carolina women’s basketball team declined Donald Trump’s invitation to visit the White House. They won their first NCAA championship back in April, and, per a 34-year tradition, NCAA title-winning champs usually attend a reception at the White House each year. But that didn’t happen for the USC women’s team. For a long time, they weren’t even invited.

The team eventually got its invite to the event that took place on Friday, November 17th. But it didn’t arrive until Head Coach Dawn Staley told The Associated Press that they hadn’t received it. Once it did, they decided to decline — and for the best reason too.

Trump has had a hard time getting athletes to accept his invitations to the White House in the past as well. In September, Golden State Warriors fan favorite Steph Curry declined Trump’s White House invitation. Curry’s rejection led to the president rescinding his invitation to the entire team in response. You know, typical mature presidential behavior.

It’s never a good look to invite someone only after they’ve publicly disclosed that you left them off the guest list. Especially when they should have received an invitation in the first place. Perhaps Trump should brush up on his Emily Post books so this doesn’t happen again.

Because really, it’s pretty embarrassing that the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team wasn’t invited far in advance.

According to the Huffington Post, Coach Staley told The Associated Press, “We haven’t gotten an invitation yet, and that in itself speaks volumes.” Then she explained, “We won before those other teams won their championships. I don’t know what else has to happen.”

Those volumes to which Coach Staley speaks likely have to do with blaring levels of sexism and misogyny. The current U.S. president doesn’t have a great track record with his treatment of women. It’s only natural to infer that Trump’s ignoring of the USC women’s team had something to do with that.

Of course, some women’s teams did receive time-sensitive invitations to the White House for the celebration.

However, the fact that the team wasn’t invited months in advance suggests that they weren’t considered a priority. Trump’s late notice just wouldn’t fly for most of us.

It’s ok though, because the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team doesn’t actually seem upset about missing the event.

They have other things on their minds. On Thursday, November 16th, the day before the White House NCAA event, Coach Staley gave the greatest explanation to ESPN as for why her team wouldn’t be in attendance.

Nothing but net on that statement. Trump’s belated invitation likely made the team feel unimportant in his eyes, but it seems they have a good sense of what’s really important to themselves: continuing to kick butt on the court. And the crowd goes wild for that A+ response.

Talk about an amazing pass.

Clearly, to the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team, winning trophies is more important than receiving invitations. And we love them for that.