The NCAA Men’s Basketball Rules Committee will continue to seek feedback on the four experimental rules that were implemented for the 2018 National Invitation Tournament.

The postseason tournament games were played with an extended 3-point line of 22 feet, 1¾ inches, which is the distance used by the International Basketball Federation. Curently, the 3-point line distance in NCAA games is 20 feet, 9 inches.

NIT games also were played using a wider lane of 16 feet. International competition and the NBA use that width, which is 4 feet wider than current NCAA rules.

For the third experimental rule, games were played in four 10-minute quarters rather than two 20-minute halves. The NIT, in consultation with its media partner, used the same commercial inventory requirements for advertising that were used during many regular-season games. Using two different formats (varying in the number and length of timeouts, but both with the same required commercial inventory), the length of the NIT games ranged between two hours, one minute and two hours, six minutes, compared with the average time for 2017-18 regular-season games of one hour, 57 minutes. In addition, team fouls were reset at the start of each quarter, and two free throws were awarded on the fifth team foul of each quarter.

The tournament also adjusted a rule to reset the shot clock to 20 seconds rather than a full 30 seconds following offensive rebounds.

Various constituents in the men’s basketball community were interested to see if the rules will enhance the pace and flow of the game. The following statistics came from the NIT experiments:

Two different timeout formats were used, but the average length of games in the 2018 NIT was from four to nine minutes longer compared with the average game length of one hour, 57 minutes for 2017-18 Division I regular-season games.

Scoring during the 2018 NIT was slightly down compared with the 2016 NIT (74.66 points to 75.15), but 0.5 points higher than the 2017 NIT average per game (74.16 points).

Teams in the 2018 NIT averaged 21.58 3-point shots in the 2018 NIT compared with 21.27 3-point attempts per game during the regular season.

Teams in the 2018 NIT shot 34.6 percent from 3-point range compared with 36.38 percent from 3-point range during the 2017-18 regular season.

Teams averaged 17.87 free-throw attempts in the NIT compared with an average of 19.73 in the 2017-18 regular season. 

To assist the committee in its continued review of these major potential rules changes, the committee is encouraging conferences and schools in Divisions I, II and III to consider experimenting with these four rules during one or more games of the 2018-19 season. The committee plans to decide on rules changes at its May 2019 meeting.

Arm padding

Based on a recommendation from the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, the Men’s Basketball Rules Committee proposed permitting padded elbow, hand, finger, wrist or forearm guards, casts, or braces, even when these items are made with a nonpliable material. These items must be covered on all exterior sides and edges with not less than a half-inch thickness of a slow-rebounding foam.

This rule change must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will discuss the proposal June 12.


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