Thursday, February 24, 2011

Group to decide how to display James Naismith’s basketball rules


See hoops history

James Naismith committed his original typewritten rules of “Basket Ball” to paper on Dec. 21, 1891 — “Hung in the gym that the boys might learn the rules,” he said, in a handwritten note added to the document June 28, 1931.

Now you can see all 13 rules yourself, during a free exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo.

The display opens March 4 and continues through May 29. Free, timed tickets are available through, at the Info Desk in the Bloch Building, or by calling 816-751-1278.

The rules are owned by David Booth, who purchased the documents at auction in December for $4.33 million. He intends for the rules to find a permanent home at KU.

David Booth wants to display James Naismith’s original rules of “Basket Ball” in Lawrence, at Kansas University, in conjunction with the school’s athletics programs.

Soon, a team of university leaders will be meeting to decide just where, when and how.

And, of course, for how much.

“The university and athletics and everybody — endowment, alumni, the Booths — we’re all going to get together and work this out and come up with a great plan,” said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director for Kansas Athletics Inc.

The working group — Marchiony tentatively referred to it as a task force, one whose members have not yet been identified — likely will convene sometime in the next few weeks to start formal discussions about creating an appropriate venue for such important documents: two sheets of paper with the original, typewritten rules for the game Naismith invented back in 1891.

Booth, a graduate of Lawrence High school and Kansas University, bought the rules at auction last month for $4.33 million, with the expressed intention of having the rules permanently displayed at KU. At the time, he indicated they would need “an appropriate venue,” possibly a new museum.

“I think it’s a little bigger than the Booth Family Hall of Athletics,” he said at the time, referring to the center connected to Allen Fieldhouse that already displays KU trophies, basketballs, part of the Hoch Auditorium basketball court and other memorabilia — which, by the way, cost less to build than the rules were to buy. “This is serious stuff.”

Booth, who is chairman and co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, intends to play an active role in the working group.

“He’ll be involved intimately,” one of his assistants said Wednesday.

Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment Association, said that the group would be focused on coming up with a “permanent solution” for securely storing, displaying and featuring the basketball rules in an appropriate venue.

“The hope certainly would be that it incorporate the Booth Family Hall of Athletics,” Seuferling said. “Every home basketball game, that’s 16,300 visitors. It’s a destination for visitors to campus, whether it’s the middle of June or the middle of December. It’s got public access. There’s a parking garage.”

But the hall, as it stands now, wouldn’t be big enough to handle not only the rules, but all the visitors expected to come with them, Seuferling said. That’s why there will be talk of providing new space for gatherings, such as awards presentations, speaking engagements and others.

Such new space could even include a kitchen, he said, to accommodate catering for special events — something similar to the Dole Institute on West Campus.

“Same concept,” he said. “Very similar.”

Again, the goal is to create an appropriate venue, and Seuferling said that discussions had not yet started about size — “Is it 1,000 square feet, 10,000 square feet?” — or specific location or style or anything else.

Or, again, how much.

“We wouldn’t be able to ask anybody for funding until we know what it is we’re trying to accomplish,” Seuferling said.


Tony Bandle 9 years, 11 months ago

I have an idea.....

Put the rules in a secure location covered by a high definiton camera. Then erect a two-sided message board, say 20'-0" high x 30'-0" long. Install that monument sign along Naismith Drive near Allen Fieldhouse. Broadcast the rules 24/7/365 so they are always visible to the outdoors.

This could be done in conjunction with some sort of interior display. The rules do indeed should not be confined. It would become an iconic location on campus, like the Campanile or The Wheel.

People will have their pictures taken in front of it, get married underneath it,......ah, yes Ray...the people will come.

jakejayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

No, it is not a "good point". It is classless and not representative of something a Jayhawk fan would post.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 11 months ago

Wow! Didn't know a little joke about TT using the rules for a clean up rag would ruffle your feathers. . .Like TT and his lady friend ruffled big jay's feathers at center court. Zing!!!

BewareOfThePhogOnTheWater 9 years, 11 months ago

I agree, jake. When we are discussing items such as the Rules let's keep it classy. No cheap shots, no put downs, no slander or classless drivel. Please stay classy and just pass up the opportunity to express your opinion of anything other than the issue at hand, and there is nothing negative to say about this issue period!

CaramelMacchMan 9 years, 11 months ago

And if the rumors are right, TT is not a Jayhawk. Forget about Jayhawk fan, that is not something a Jayhawk basketball player would do. You need to relax and take a joke Jake.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 11 months ago

Let's not forget that Kansas houses the world's largest 5 legged steer and the world's largest praire dog that is oh so eerily similar to those cowboy boots.

Jim Roth 9 years, 11 months ago

And the World's Largest Hand-dug Well, the World's Largest Easel, the World's Largest Spur, the World's Largest Meat Cleaver, the World's Largest Wren, and more.....

NotWiller 9 years, 11 months ago

When I lived in Austin (I was young, we all make mistakes), they were proud to break the record for hottest Labor Day: 114 degrees. Miserable...

Don't forget that Kansas is home to the world's second largest steam shovel (Big Brutus, down by Pittsburgh). It's ok not to be #1 sometimes.

kcglowboy 9 years, 11 months ago

If a new facility has to be built, unfortunately we're just about out of space at or near the fieldhouse. The only open space left is the front lawn on the east side of AFH, but I would hate to see a new building block the grand view of the grand old building as we drive by on Naismith Dr. I wonder if it would be feasible to build something UNDER the great lawn (the way they did with the Nelson-Atkins expansion in KC), thus taking advantage of the free space, but leaving current appearances alone. That would allow enough free space to include a multi-function hall (for banquets, etc.).

xanto 9 years, 11 months ago

What's to discuss. The "Rules" have to be displayed in Allen Fieldhouse.

Mo Mosallaei 9 years, 11 months ago

I would love to have them on display at Allen Fieldhouse. I know the thought is that AFH is not a secured enough location, but it would be nice to work it out somehow. Maybe just a replica copy?

100 9 years, 11 months ago

  1. Does Allen Fieldhouse not have a kitchen?

  2. Is there something wrong with a line waiting to see two pages that changed world culture?

  3. Is there something wrong with a line that circles Allen Fieldhouse in the summertime, careens around Phog's statue as well as the eventually to be placed Naismith & Chamberlain statues which will gaze across the beautiful lawn in front?

  4. Is there something wrong with ESPN cameras filming our guys slapping the rules while running through the tunnel every home game?

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 11 months ago

How about the Booth family building a rest area on K10 with an animatronic Dr. James Naismith sitting at a desk writing the "Rules" down. There could be a peep show style booth that would be coin operated and when the curtains open, there would be the original "Rules" on display. Or, a new toll booth on I-70 could be built right before you get to Manhattan where anyone going into Manhattan would have to see the "Rules".

KUFan90 9 years, 11 months ago

Interesting discussion. I get that there are concerns that have to be dealt with, but any solution that doesn't wind up with the rules being at Allen Field House would be an epic fail.

actorman 9 years, 11 months ago

I agree, KUFan. I hate the idea of it being in some separate building in a different location. It has to be in the middle of all the history and tradition.

100 9 years, 11 months ago

Underneath that huge Lawn in front of Allen Fieldhouse would make one heckuva soup kitchen. Take elevator up. Get off on the first level. Do you hear the thunder from the stands?

That's Dr. Naismith's stomping you hear.... A spirit who, while in flesh, attended nearly every home basketball game in his 41 years at Kansas, as coach, as assistant coach, as referee, as statistician & as college professor spectator... He's sitting right up there above our heads in the stands of the Fieldhouse that was originally to be named after his father... Hes been sitting up there for a long time, watching his passing legacy unfold with a wry grin....

He doesn't mind so much that the name on the facade is different than what he understood that it would be when the first money was given for the fieldhouse. Phog always was his prized recruit & desired the notoriety in anything to do with basketball more than he.

And as the thunder is now subsiding, he's very glad that a fellow Kansan has brought the rules back to his home, because Allen Fieldhouse is his home now. It's where his spirit lives. And breathes. And screams. And applauds. And stomps. Thunderously.

And he only asks for them to be put where the students are, the players, the referees, the spectators, the lovers of basketball....

In Doc Naismith/Phog Allen Fieldhouse

"There's no place like home"

Ken Sedgwick 9 years, 11 months ago

Has anyones task force phone rang yet? Mine hasn`t.

kerbyd 9 years, 11 months ago

"There's no place like Home." Love it!

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

The rules belong in a vacuum sealed, lighted, bullet proof glass encasement visible under the center circle at mid court in the field house, so that they are on view every time a game is broadcast from AFH.


Screw the luncheons. Bring the big wigs into AFH and let them walk on the sacred wood and stand over the rules looking down at them. This will shake more money free from alums and money bags than any stinking clone of Dole Center with kitchen.

Short of this solution, a large bronze statue of Naismith should be cast of him standing and holding the rules in a vacuum sealed, lighted and secure box in one hand, kind of like Moses holding the tablets.

I also support Oakville's notion that the originals should be "televised" 24/7 on 20x30 plasma sign boards on Naismith Drive.

But the farther the rules are from center court in Allen Field House the worse it is for the rules, for basketball, and KU basketball.

Keep the rules at center court!

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 11 months ago

We've had this discussion. Center glass encasement is for when hcbs passes away.

Of course that would mean a threesome for TT!

mae 9 years, 11 months ago

A new museum capable of handling the rules could only be one place. Not Allen but the place the game was invented, IF of course the money and support is there.

mae 9 years, 11 months ago

Really it is sad that we take so much pride in tradition and ignore the entire roots of Kansas basketball. Allen is ok, but to bring back THE FIRST basketball court ever,

what does that say? It says pride.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.