President Donald Trump will not be filling out ESPN's March Madness bracket, breaking an annual tradition started by his predecessor President Barack Obama in 2009.
The sports network reached out to the White House, offering Trump an invitation to fill out a bracket on-camera in a segment similar to Obama's "Baracketology," but they recently learned that he declined, the Washington Post reported.
"We expressed our interest to the White House in continuing the presidential bracket. They have respectfully declined," an ESPN spokesman said in a statement.
"We look forward to working with ESPN on another opportunity in the near future," White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks told the Post.
Executives at ESPN understood that a new administration may not be willing to carry on the torch. ESPN's basketball analyst Andy Katz told the The Post they had come up with the idea of a March Madness segment with Obama because he has a passion for basketball.
"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 said. "‘Baracketology' was a success because it was clear he was a fan of the sport and the NCAA tournament, like millions of other Americans."
Obama would fill out eight March Madness brackets for both men's and women's teams, but only selected a winning team once in 2009. Every other year he was unsuccessful, despite his passion for the sport. Mashable did an analysis of Obama's previous brackets, and found he fell short of the winning percentages of average participants.
It is not clear why Trump is declining ESPN's offer.