Trump declines ESPN invite to fill out NCAA bracket

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a listening session with the Retail Industry Leaders Association and member company CEOs in the Rosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

(The Sports Xchange) - Bracketology in the Oval Office is ending under President Donald Trump.

The eight-year run of the president filling out an NCAA Tournament bracket on live television will come to a halt after Trump declined an invitation from ESPN to continue the tradition.

"We expressed our interest to the White House in continuing the presidential bracket. They have respectfully declined," an ESPN spokesman said in a statement.

Former President Barack Obama is a rabid basketball fan and filled out brackets for both the men's and women's tournaments with ESPN reporter Andy Katz. He correctly selected North Carolina to win it all in 2009.

"He wasn't as dialed in to every player or team but had conversational knowledge to offer his own analysis on the NCAA tournament for the men's and women's game," Katz noted of Obama's participation. "Baracketology was a success because it was clear he was a fan of the sport and the NCAA tournament, like millions of other Americans."

Trump's main foray into the sporting arena since he was elected has been his continued support of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft.

Before taking office, Trump also attended the annual Army-Navy football game in December.

While two of Obama's brackets are now housed in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the new regime is not closing the door on having the president taking part in an ESPN broadcast.

"We look forward to working with ESPN on another opportunity in the near future," White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email to The Washington Post.