The college that's won the NIT most often is a local one - St. John's. The NIT has sometimes been called a "loser's tournament," but it can still feature some good teams playing basketball at Madison Square Garden.
The NIT logo (at www.nit.org) is one-half apple and one-half basketball.
When the referee first tossed up the ball at center court 68 years ago, the floodgates opened and the National Invitation Tournament was immediately established as a major sporting event.
Originated by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association in 1938, responsibility for administering the NIT was transferred two years later to local colleges, first known as the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Committee and in 1948, as the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association (MIBA), which today is comprised of representatives from the five New York City schools, Fordham, Manhattan, New York University, St. John's and Wagner.
The first edition of the NIT was played at Madison Square Garden, located between 49th and 50th Streets. The "old" Garden remained the Tournament's home for thirty years until 1968, when for the first time it was played in, as the late Pulitzer Prize-win ning sportswriter, Red Smith, pegged it "the most famous and glamorous arena in creation" — the Garden on 33rd Street. It is here that the NIT and the Garden continue their illustrious relationship.
In 1977, former NIT Executive Director, Peter A. Carlesimo and the Tournament Committee implemented a plan that gave college basketball fans an opportunity to see their local favorites in tournament play. This innovation involved playing at different fieldhouses and arenas throughout the country.
The revised format, the most striking change in NIT history, is responsible for the tourney compiling record breaking attendance figures, including the 1981 tally of 326,466, the largest fan turnout in NIT annals.
NIT Quick Facts
Most NIT appearances: St. John's 26
Most NIT championships: St. John's 5 (1943-44-59-65-89); Bradley 4 (1957-60-64-82)
Expanding the field
17 March 1938, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 20:
Temple's high geared basketball teams, champions of the eastern intercollegiate conference, tonight won the national invitation tournament with a 60 to 36 victory over Colorado university at Madison Square Garden.
4 March 1947, Washington Post, pg. 10:
Only West Virginia and Kentucky have been named for the eight-team invitation tourney but Asa Bushnell, commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference and chairman of the NIT's selection committee, said that he expected to announce the names of three or four more teams before the middle of the week.
14 February 1949, Washington Post, pd. 11:
Over to NIT
The field is beginning to shape up for the two major tourneys, the national invitation tournament and the NCAA meet.
10 March 1975, New York Times, pg. 35:
North Carolina State Snubs N.I.T.
North Carolina State, snubbed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association tourney and unable to defend its national title despite a 22-6 won-loss record, turned down an N.I.T. bid yesterday.
(David - ed.) Thompson added that the N.I.T. "just seems like such a loser's tournament."
11 March 1975, New York Times, pg. 29:
Critics of N.I.T. Under Attack
By GORDON S.. WHITE Jr
Lou Carnesecca, St. John's basketball coach, leveled an uncharacteristically strong attack yesterday against players and coaches who have referred to the National Invitation Tournament as "a loser's tournament" and "minor leagues."
Speaking at a Madison Square Garden luncheon for coaches participating in the 38th annual N.I.T., Carnesecca said: "I take exception to the statement that the N.I.T. is a loser's tournament. If you take that then Joe Lapchik, Clair Bee, Nat Holman, Lenny Wilkins and Walt Frazier are losers."
David Thompson, North Carolina State's star, was quoted as saying the N.I.T. :just seems like such a loser's tournament."
Actually, Ed Jordan, one of Rutgers' players, made the statement, after the big victory, saying, "The N.C.A.A. is the major leagues. The N.I.T. is the minor leagues."
Word Mark NIT
Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services in the nature of basketball tournaments. FIRST USE: 19380000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19380000
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
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