NDSU Football Expecting Every Player at Historic Visit to White House
FARGO, N.D. — It took seven national titles in eight seasons for North Dakota State to finally score an invite to the White House.
While partisan politics have made some sports teams reluctant to head to D.C., the Bison wasted no time in accepting the offer when it was presented.
“Our staff has been unbelievable over the course of the last couple of weeks in terms of pulling this off,” head coach Matt Entz said. “We had a team meeting yesterday. Our players were excited. It’s going to be a full day, a long day, but it’s going to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.”
NDSU did not want to make it mandatory to go on the trip. Everyone’s varying schedules would make that difficult.
Nonetheless, the team says every single student-athlete from this year’s championship team will be going to Washington, including the 24 outgoing seniors.
“It tells you just the camaraderie that’s created in Bison football and the true brotherhood that we talk about routinely as coaches,” Entz said. “Our guys realize that this is one of the last opportunities they will have as the 2018 team to be together. At the same time, it’s the first activity of 2019 the football team will do as well.”
Entz says that’s one of the things he’s looking forward to most about this opportunity.
“I think it’s just being with the team and seeing some of the guys who have never been to D.C., their first time experience seeing the white house or the capitol or seeing some of the monuments and understanding the historical significance of the people that may have been there prior to them,” he said. “That’s probably where I’ll reap the biggest reward of the day.”
And, while this trip will be a lot about honoring the team that just won a national title, Entz says it’s also a great thing for the future of the program from a recruiting standpoint.
“I think it will have a significant impact,” he said. “I think the number of recruits who will something on some sort of social media or even your mainstream media will be big time for us. We’ve tried to make some inroads into Atlanta area. I think that any time we can get further east of the state of Illinois, it helps us as far as our brand and brand recognition. I’m sure we’ll try to use it the most that we can or as much as we can, especially as a recruiting tool, and hopefully all of our Bison nation and alumni across the country have a sense of pride when the see the bison at the White House.”
The team flies out of Fargo and 4:30 Monday morning and meets with President Trump at 11:30 a.m. EST.
According to NDSU, former head coach Chris Klieman and the rest of the former staff were invited on the trip but will not be attending.