NNCAA/NIT - history of the tournaments question

From some reading I’ve done, it seems like the NIT tournament used to attract the big schools, with the NCAA tournament getting the second tier schools. Now, of course, it’s the other way around. When did the switch begin to occur and why? Anyone have any ideas?

Mods, if you can, please correct the thread title to NCAA. Thanks!

Another thread is discussing the same question.

Keep in mind that the NIT predates the NCAA tournament, and was the de facto national championship in its prime. However, I seem to recall seeing a year-by-year, comparison of NCAA champions against NIT champions, and there weren’t that many years where the NIT champion was considered the better team, even in the 1940s.

Following CCNY’s double win in 1950, the NCAA forbade any school from playing in both tournaments. That’s when the NIT became the second-tier tournament. Later, the NCAA cemented this status when they declared that any school offered a bid to the NCAA Tournament had to accept it or would be barred from postseason participation that season.

Ultimately, the NCAA wanted their tournament to be the premier one and fixed it so it would be.

I’m guessing that was after 1970… That year coach Al McGuire didn’t think Marquette was placed in the bracket fairly and turned down the NCAA invitation and took his team to the NIT instead, which they won.

IIRC, it was because of this Marquette incident that the NCAA enacted this rule. (Money could have also played a factor; back then, if the NCAA didn’t keep all of the profits (like it does with every NCAA tournament except D1 men’s basketball), a large chunk of the money went to the Final Four teams. Today, half of the available money (mainly from the TV contract) goes to the schools based on how many sports it has and how many scholarships it gives out, and the other half goes to the conferences (which, in turn, give it to their schools) based on how well its teams did in the previous six tournaments (and if a school changes conferences, “its” money goes with it). On the other hand, NIT money tends to go directly to the schools, especially as Marquette would have hosted at least two games.)

The only effect I have seen this rule have in recent years is on historically black colleges; traditionally, the champions of the two main HBC conferences in FCS football lay a postseason game against each other, but if one of them gets invited to the FCS tournament, they can’t be in that game. (The Grambling-Southern game is exempt as it is scheduled as a regular-season game, even though it takes place after the tournament starts, and I think the two schools, like the Ivy League schools, decline any invitations to the NCAA tournament.)