April 19, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Regular-season conference champions are no longer guaranteed spots in the National Invitation Tournament.

The NIT board of managers tweaked its qualifying rules for its men’s postseason tournament Friday, saying regular-season champs who do not win their conference tournament and are not otherwise selected to the NCAA tournament will not receive an automatic bid to the NIT.

Instead, the NIT will guarantee berths for two teams — based on the NET rankings — from each of the major six conferences: the Atlantic Coast, the Big East, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12 and the Southeastern.

The top two teams in the NET rankings not qualifying for the NCAA tournament from each conference, regardless of win-loss record, will be selected. Additionally, the 12 teams automatically selected will be guaranteed the opportunity to host a game in the first round of the NIT.

The decision was met with some criticism Friday.

Jon Steinbrecher, the commissioner of the mid-major MAC, called the move “troubling.”

But NIT board chairman Dan Gavitt called the change necessary.

“The postseason college basketball landscape is becoming more competitive for teams that don’t qualify for March Madness,” he said in the statement announcing the move. “The change to the selection process for the 2024 NIT is a necessary effort to evolve this historic tournament in a dynamic event marketplace.”

ESPN televises all NIT games on its platforms.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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