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ESPN Explains Controversial Decision On Invitation To ESPYS

A general view of the ESPY Awards carpet.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 18: General view of the red carpet at the 2018 ESPY Awards Red Carpet Show Live! Celebrates With Moet & Chandon at Microsoft Theater on July 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)

ESPN has responded to the criticism for its decision to not invite South Carolina women's basketball star Aliyah Boston to the upcoming ESPYS.

Boston is one of the nominees for the “Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports" award. When it became apparent she didn't receive an invite to Wednesday's awards ceremony in Los Angeles, a firestorm erupted on social media.

“Like really….who in the room from @espn @ESPYS decided it was a great idea not to invite @MarchMadnessWBB NPOY DPOY….not one person was able to see the uproar this would cause? There’s definitely something wrong with the make up of the room……the fight continue….#WBBSTANDUP,” wrote Dawn Staley, Boston's head coach at South Carolina.

According to ESPN, Boston was not intentionally excluded. She did not receive an invite because the award she is up for will not be presented live on the air tomorrow night.

“We have the utmost respect for Aliyah Boston, Dawn Staley and the South Carolina Gamecocks,” ESPN said in a statement, via The State.com. “Due to both COVID restrictions and a new venue with much less seating capacity than previous shows, ‘The 2022 ESPYs’ prioritized athlete invitations to focus on specific awards that will be handed out during the broadcast.”

Boston averaged 16.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while leading the Gamecocks to a national championship this season. 

She is one of four women up for the “Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports" honor, along with Florida State soccer's Jaelin Howell, Oklahoma softball's Jocelyn Alo and Boston College lacrosse's Charlotte North.