INDIANAPOLIS — For the fourth time in five years, the 2019 National Invitation Tournament will feature experimental rules intended to give the NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee, the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and the Division I Men’s Basketball Competition Committee data as well as feedback to assist in making decisions regarding rules changes. The NCAA playing rules process operates on a two-year cycle, with the next approval of rules changes coming this May, effective potentially for the 2019-20 season.
The 2019 NIT will feature four rules modifications:
• The 3-point line will be extended by approximately 1 foot, 8 inches to the same distance used by FIBA for international competition (22 feet, 1.75 inches).
• The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet, consistent with the width used by the NBA.
• The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound instead of the full 30 seconds.
• Team fouls will reset at the 10-minute mark of each half for the purpose of determining free throws and one-and-one free throws will be eliminated. Teams will shoot two bonus free throws after the fifth team foul of each 10-minute segment. Additionally, teams will be awarded two bonus free throws after the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining in each half if that foul occurs before the fifth team foul of the segment. In each overtime period, team fouls will reset, and teams will shoot two free throws beginning with the fourth team foul or the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining if that comes before the fourth team foul of the overtime period.
The first three experimental rules also were used during the 2018 NIT.
“The style of play in men’s college basketball is healthy and appealing, but the leadership governing the game is interested in keeping the playing rules contemporary and trending favorably,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “Experimenting with two significant court dimension rules, a shot-clock reset rule and a game-format rule all have some level of support in the membership, so the NIT will provide the opportunity to gather invaluable data and measure the experience of the participants.”
The experimental rules will help determine if a marginally more difficult 3-point shot will be effective for men’s college basketball and if widening the lane will reduce physicality and create more driving opportunities. In addition, the number of possessions and any impact on the pace and flow of the game will be evaluated.
“The NIT is an exciting event with a rich tradition and history, yet it also provides us a platform to consider how the game might look in the future,” Gavitt said. “We’ve seen the adoption of recent experimental rules and how they have had a positive impact. This track record of the game evolving is a result of us having the flexibility to see if the rules work and are met with satisfaction, so we appreciate the support and partnership for the good of college basketball from our membership and our broadcast partners at ESPN.”
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In previous seasons, the NIT has experimented with rules such as the 30-second shot clock and a 4-foot restricted-area arc before they were implemented by the rules committee.
The NIT committee, chaired by Butler Director of Athletics Barry Collier, will announce selections and pairings Sunday, March 17. In addition to Collier, the NIT committee consists of Missouri Valley Conference Commissioner Doug Elgin, Boston College Senior Associate Athletics Director Vaugh Williams, former head men’s basketball coaches Mike Montgomery, Oliver Purnell and Dave Odom, and former athletics administrators, head coaches and NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee members Judy Rose and Gary Walters.
The 82nd NIT will begin Tuesday, March 19, with the semifinals and championship game scheduled for April 2 and 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York. All 31 matchups of the NIT will air exclusively on ESPN’s family of networks.