The Oregon State baseball team, which won the 2018 College World Series, visited with Trump in Vanderbilt’s place.
A White House official confirmed that account but did not comment on Oregon State’s invitation. The school said its trip, which included former baseball coach Pat Casey, who retired more than a year ago, was funded by an anonymous donor.
The college champions event celebrated athletes from nonrevenue sports. The NCAA’s Division I football champion and men’s and women’s basketball champions have at times visited the White House on their own, although the past three men’s basketball champions did not make such a trip for varying reasons.
Trump hosted reigning College Football Playoff champion Clemson in January with a fast-food feast. Men’s basketball champion Virginia declined Trump’s invitation in April, citing logistical complications after several players declared for the NBA draft. Women’s basketball champion Baylor joined Trump in the Oval Office that same month.
Friday’s gathering included 22 championship teams or athletes. They met with Trump in the East Room and State Dining Room of the White House, and afterward took a brief tour of the Oval Office.
The event was not without controversy. Members of the Columbia coed fencing team wore large white lapel pins in a silent protest of Trump’s policies of “gender-based prejudice and partisanship,” and they planned to hand Trump a letter detailing grievances against his administration.
Team captains told The Post in interviews that White House staff said Secret Service agents would prevent them from handing the president the letter, though the team did present Trump with a gift — a customary procedure for most championship visits. Photos from the event showed Trump interacting closely with athletes from other teams, including signing the tie of a Stanford gymnast.
White House spokesman Judd Deere declined to comment on the fencing team’s letter, citing a policy of not commenting on Secret Service protocols.
Reporters did not have access to the East Room, where Oregon State’s baseball team, which defeated Arkansas in 2018, met Trump. Reporters were confined to the State Dining Room, where just four of the 22 teams were positioned. White House aides initially had planned to allow broader coverage, but rain forced some teams scheduled to meet Trump on the South Lawn to move inside, making many rooms too crowded, they said.
Oregon State spokesman Hank Hager said the team was not invited to the White House in 2018, and the White House did not hold a unified event to honor NCAA champions that year. All but one of the players from Oregon State’s championship baseball team, including Baltimore Orioles prospect Adley Rutschman, the top pick of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft, attended last week’s event, when the team also presented Trump with a jersey.
All the other champions that Trump honored Friday won their titles in 2019, aside from 2018 men’s soccer champion Maryland and 2018 women’s volleyball champion Stanford. The 2019 titles for those sports have yet to be decided. There was no women’s soccer representative at the event, according to a list of attendees distributed by the White House. Florida State won the 2018 women’s soccer title; the 2019 tournament won’t be decided until December.