The 2019 National Invitation Tournament will once again be a laboratory of sorts as the NCAA will implement a number of experimental rules for the fourth time in five years.

The NCAA said it would implement four rules modifications into the NIT this year, including:

  • Extending the 3-point line by approximately 1 foot, 8 inches (to match the distance used by FIBA for international competition)
  • Widening the free-throw lane to 16 feet (to match the width used in the NBA)
  • Resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound (instead of the full 30 seconds)
  • Resetting team fouls at the 10-minute mark of each half for the purpose of determining free throws. One-and-one free throws will also be eliminated. Teams will now shoot two bonus free throws after the fifth team foul in any 10-minute segment. In overtime periods, team fouls will reset and two bonus free throws will begin with the fourth team foul (or the second team foul committed under two minutes remaining, if that comes before the fourth team foul of overtime).

The rule changes for the NIT will give NCAA men’s basketball committees data and feedback which will help them in the decision making process regarding rules changes. The rules committee, D-1 oversight committee and D-1 competition committee will each analyze what comes out of the NIT this year.

The NCAA’s next rule change approval date is in May, and any changes to the rules could go into effect for the 2019-20 season.

“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 NIT will announce the tournament field on Sunday, March 17, with games beginning on Tuesday, March 19.

Jason Scott is Online Managing Editor of Athletic Business.