Chryst, Richt shake hands

Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst, left, shakes hands with Miami head coach Mark Richt during a photo opportunity with the Orange Bowl trophy at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

M.P. KING, STATE JOURNAL

But spokesman says players don’t mind stay at Trump hotel

Up to 100,000 people turned out for the Madison incarnation of the nationwide Women’s March that largely targeted President Donald Trump last January. UW-Madison has objected to Trump administration policies, and UW-Madison student activists have not been shy about expressing their disdain for the president.

Trump probably isn’t going to hold a campaign rally anytime soon in this liberal 77 “square miles surrounded by reality,” but thanks to Orange Bowl organizers, the hometown football team is staying in one of The Trump Organization‘s luxury properties.

The UW-Madison football team and some alumni have been staying at the Trump National Doral hotel in the days leading up to the game against the University of Miami on Saturday.

UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas said the Badgers team was assigned to the Trump Doral by the Orange Bowl Committee based on contacts they have with game sponsors.

The Wisconsin Alumni Association included stays there as part of its travel packages.

The choice of hotel has “disappointed” a group of UW-Madison students called the Student Coalition for Progress. It issued a statement Friday calling President Trump “one of the biggest oppressors of people of color in this country.” Member Beth Alleman said it was ironic for black college football players to stay in a hotel owned by a president who has criticized black NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest the mistreatment of minorities.

“There are hundreds of hotels in the Miami area, and the Wisconsin football team and its supporters should be staying in a different one,” the group said.

Trump has stepped away from any direct management of The Trump Organization, but he remains a chief owner.

‘Exemplary service’

Larry Wahl, the Orange Bowl’s vice president for communications, said the Bowl is responsible for arranging hotel accommodations for participating teams.

“Trump Doral was selected after a comprehensive request for proposal process to determine viable hotel properties,” Wahl said, adding, “we determined that Trump Doral not only meets, but exceeds our partners’ requirements for upcoming bowl games.

“We are in the fourth year of a multi-year agreement for Trump National Doral to host the team from the Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame side of our game, or in the case of a semifinal, one of the two teams,” Wahl said.

“The resort has hosted teams, partners and fans of the Orange Bowl for decades and the local staff and management have always exhibited exemplary service and professionalism.”

Wahl said the ACC team, Miami, is staying at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood.

“The teams’ properties are split by county: with the team hotel, band hotel and practice site of each team either in Miami-Dade or Broward County,” he said.

Tod Pritchard, Wisconsin Alumni Association director of media and public relations, said the WAA “did field some questions about the hotel” but that the rooms there were still “sold out within hours.”

“The vast majority of interested travelers voiced no concerns about the hotel selection,” he said. “The handful of travelers who did have an issue with the Trump Hotel were political in nature.”

UW Athletics spokesman Brian Mason said he’s seen no sign players have a problem staying at the hotel.

“I have spent quite a bit of time around the players this week and have not heard it brought up as an issue,” he said. “I just polled our operations folks here and they said the same thing.”

The team’s trip to the game is covered by bowl proceeds.