Poll for college basketball fans: Should the NIT be abolished?

Let’s vote on it and comment.

Without 68 teams now in the real tournament, I see no reason for the NIT to continue to exist.

My answer is to keep it. For the same reason I think they should keep the 30 something bowl games.

These student athletes (and that is exactly what most of them are) are busting their asses practicing and studying with a hectic schedule all winter long.

We not reward 4 of those teams with a trip (and some SWAG) to NYC.

Keep it! Whose Ga Tech Yellowjackets only realistic chance at a post season trip is to the NIT. Because they aint winning the ACC Tourney.

FWIW, I know that I will be in the minority.

Here’s my solutions:

Expand Dance to 96 (Auto bids to Reg. Season champs, Ivy does some form of postseason)
Exapnd NIT to 48
Get rid of the two new silly tourneys

I’m the poll-starter and I voted “Yes” for the simple reason that can be summarized in one word: Apathy. There’s a reason why N.I.T. is also known as the Nobody’s Interested Tournament. Unless they’re chronic celler-dwellers who somehow manage to finish around .500 for the first time in 20 years, teams and coaches aren’t interested in playing in the NIT. If anything, it’s usually viewed as punishment. Fans aren’t interested even if their favorite school “makes it in” because, at best, it just means your team is the 69th best in the country. TV isn’t interested because most of the match-ups are between slightly-above-average to mediocre teams that draw miniscule ratings even for cable. In fact, about the only people who are still interested in the NIT are those degenerate gamblers who are so far down in the hole that they need good showings in both their NCAA and the NIT betting brackets.

I would keep it (although I would get rid of the "conference regular season champions automatically get a spot if they’re not in the NCAA tournament), but replace the tournament(s) below it with the equivalent of bowl games - all of the teams that would be eligible for the NCAA tournament (I think it’s “winning record against Division I opponents,” but I’m not sure) but didn’t make the NCAA or NIT are divided into groups of four (with up to three teams with .500 records added to make sure all groups have four), and have one of the four host a two-day mini-tournament. This gives all of the teams with winning records a chance to pick up some extra postseason money. (If it turns out that these things lose money, then just expand the NIT, even if it means the first round isn’t televised.)

Little-known fact: back in 1970 or so, a team (I want to say Marquette) declined an invitation to the NCAA tournament in order to play in the NIT. The next year, the NCAA passed a bylaw that applies to all sports: if you are invited to an NCAA Championship tournament and decline, you are not allowed to participate in any non-conference postseason event. (This causes, or at least used to cause, problems with a couple of Historically Black College football conferences that traditionally had their champions play each other, in case one of the two got invited to the NCAA tournament. Note that the annual Grambling-Southern game is not affected as it is considered a regular season game, even though it is usually played after the tournament begins.)
This didn’t stop a school from turning down the opportunity to host a game in the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament because they needed to keep the arena free just in case they were invited to host a men’s NIT game…

What change did the NCAA tourney make that allowed it to eclipse the NIT in prestige?

But this is clearly not the case. With all the automatic bids, I don’t think anyone would argue that the teams in the NCAA Tourney are really the best 68 teams in the country. For instance, even notfrommensa’s beleaguered GaTech wouldn’t have a problem beating a team like Harvard who gets to play in the Big Dance by virtue of winning the Ivy League regular season (they don’t do a conference tournament).

Keep it, but ignore it if you like. It’s an opportunity for more teams and fans to have a little fun, including all regular-season conference winners who came up short in their tournament. So what if nobody else cares? And is winning the NIT really less significant than losing on the first Thursday afternoon of the NCAA?

I say keep it - for no other reason than I enjoy watching the teams that fell on the wrong side of the bubble head into the NIT with a chip on their shoulders.

“Back in ancient times” the NCAA tournament was much smaller, 25 teams more or less, and only conference champions and invited at-large teams got to play in it. Then conferences like the ACC added their own post-season tourneys, and the winner also won the NCAA bid. At this stage, there were actually some very good teams that didn’t get into the NCAAs, so the NIT was a good competition.

Sometimes though, it led to situations where a great ACC regular season champ got upset in the ACC tourney, and so the NCAA field was expanded. As it expanded, the NIT became less and less important.

I can’t think of a single person hurt by the existence of the NIT. The “student athletes” get a nice trip and some more games. Alumni of the NIT schools get to cheer their team on a few more times. The networks get a few more broadcasts. Hardcore basketball fans get a few more games. And those that don’t care, or think it’s meaningless, don’t have to watch.

Why not keep it?

It gives the schools a chance to make a few more bucks and the players a chance to get some more practice. And it gives 4 teams a trip to NYC. Other than that, it’s a joke. Nobody gives a crap about it, you don’t even boast about it if you should win. They have their favored teams who will get to play their first three games all at home and their red-headed stepchildren who won’t get to play a single game at home. But for those that want to watch, why not? Plus it gives ESPN its annual phased withdrawal from college basketball and the network a chance to discover that there are other sports besides basketball.

When it’s all over, the fans of the winning team get to chant “We’re #66! We’re #66!”

Who’d want to deprive them of that kind of honor?

Prior to 1975, only the champion of a conference was invited to the tournament. In 1974, Maryland was considered one of the best 3 teams in the country, but could not go to the dance because NC State (also one of the best 3 teams) won the ACC that year.

In 1975 the field was expanded to 32 teams so that some at-large bids could be included.

What are you talking about? UK players and us fans love it when Kentucky goes to the NIT!

I agree with Jas09, why abolish it if it doesn’t hurt anybody. I assume it is still financially viable, so what is the point of getting rid of it?

I don’t think there was any single point where the NCAA tournament became more important than the NIT (although you can make a case for the year CCNY won both in the same year).

Somebody on ESPN made a good case for the NIT: if you’ve got a lot of seniors, it gives them a “proper sendoff”, and if you’re loaded with freshmen and sophomores (and they aren’t leaving for the NBA), it gives them additional experience as a team. It also gives hosting schools a chance to pocket some additional money. It only becomes a problem if it loses money.

One change the NIT made a few years ago got rid of one of its biggest problems; the tournament is now bracketed from the start. At one point, they used to seed teams geographically (so, in theory, you could get the best two teams meeting each other in an early round), and wait until all of a round’s games were over before announcing the next round’s pairings and sites, so schools got very little notice as to whether or not they would be hosting and/or where they would have to travel to next.

I’m fine with keeping it. Some teams get a few more games, some schools get a few more dollars, is anybody really hurt?

But I have to wonder: Has anybody ever sat down to agonize over and fill out an NIT bracket?

Has anybody (besides President Obama, presumably) sat down and filled out a Women’s NCAA bracket?

Besides the “who cares” aspect, I can think of two reasons why there isn’t much call for an NIT bracket; not all of the games are on TV, and the aforementioned fact that, until recently, there was no real bracket; games were set up on the fly in order to cut travel costs. (You could do something like, “These 16 teams will win, then these 8 will win, then these 4, then these two, then this one,” but you ran the risk of picking teams in the same round that ended up playing each other.)