Saturday, August 27, 2011

Challenge’ ahead for basketball rules at KU


David Booth can do the math: 13 rules + two sheets of paper + one signature = one heck of a tourist attraction.

Booth, a trustee for the Kansas University Endowment Association and chairman and co-CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, said Friday that he was looking forward to turning over James Naismith’s “Original Rules of Basket Ball” to his alma mater, where they are envisioned as the focal point for a likely expansion of the Booth Family Hall of Athletics.

With the community’s help, of course.

“We’ve put it in the form as a challenge,” said Booth, speaking during the Community Education Breakfast, which drew 550 people Friday to support the Lawrence Schools Foundation. “As soon as KU gets a way of housing them appropriately, we’ll give them the rules. They’ve got some exciting (ideas) ... and hopefully all of you will be able to participate in the fundraising efforts for that.

“It will really be a great destination point, based on the things they’re thinking about, which will partly convert Allen Fieldhouse more into a year-round venue, which I think is very exciting.”

Plans remain in the works for accommodating rules, which Booth purchased at auction in December for $4.33 million. Various options are being considered, including remodeling or expansion of the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, which Booth and fellow family members helped establish with a donation of $9 million.

The rules also could go into a stand-alone building.

“We don’t want to do something quixotic,” said Sheahon Zenger, athletic director, who attended the breakfast event. “We don’t want to do something that hasn’t had a lot of forethought. …

“If we do this right, it truly will be a tourist destination. There are a number of ways we can do that: anything from honoring the legacy of the University of Kansas, Kansas basketball, basketball history itself, in conjunction with different ideas that would involve food service or vending opportunities for memorabilia and Kansas Athletics gear.”

Men’s basketball coach Bill Self is looking forward to the final project making what he considers the finest college basketball arena in the country even better. He foresees it as both a premier tourist attraction and as a recruiting tool for students.

“It’s something we would sell all our recruits, in basketball, but there won’t be a student that’s being recruited by our university that wouldn’t have an opportunity to see this,” Self said.


ccarp 10 years, 11 months ago

Should be more like the display of the royal jewels at the tower of London and less like a food court.

notigers4me 10 years, 11 months ago

Maybe I don't understand the big picture here, how much space do you really need to display two pieces of paper? Why is it so important to build an entire building to house the rules of basketball? As far as the tourist attraction aspect goes will people come from far and wide to see the rules? I am reasonably sure I wouldn't travel to Manhattan to see the rules if they were at Kansas State. Won't most of the people coming to see the rules be mostly Jayhawks?

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

notigers - I don't know if folks would schedule their vacation to make it a destination, but I could definitely see people from ALL OVER stopping by Lawrence to see it, or seeing it while they're at a basketball or football game.

As far as basketball goes, it's kind of a big deal.

Now as far as the K-State reference, I hear they're considering building a new barn to house the rules of Livestock Judging.........

Jayhawk1116 10 years, 11 months ago

Livestock Judging. Awesome!

Let's not forget that basketball is an International sport. A lot of guys from other countries play in the NBA now and would probably make a pilgrimage to Lawrence to see where it all began.

Also, how cool would it be if KC had an NBA team and all those guys would make a side trip to Lawrence and AFH to see the rules?

Dirk Medema 10 years, 11 months ago

Notigs - The Declaration of Independence is only 2 pieces of paper too (not that it means that the 2 docs are of equal value), but the point of the article is exactly that these are more than just 2 sheets of paper and deserve a bigger stage show casing their place in history - of the game and the game at KU. And fortunately, KU & Lawrence are far more than the lil' sisters living to the west - even wthout the rules.

lee3022 10 years, 11 months ago

Not only do these need their own staging (a diamond needs a setting) but the security aspects are very high as well. The ongoing security costs are to man the display whenever it is open and to monitor the display when closed. The logistics of viewing the display will be daunting as game days will draw much larger crowds who have to be managed - something like a moving line, in one door and out another.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 11 months ago

This is on a slightly different topic but is relevant to KU basketball history. My dad died of cancer almost two years ago and I am helping my mom go through some of his old stuff this weekend. He was a basketball and football coach (HS & Jr. High) for around 50 years. When going through some books last night I found one titled Coach Phog Allen's Sports Stories. I opened the cover and found this inscription:

"Lawrence, Kansas Dec. 21, '48 To, Harold Prichard, With very best wishes to you Harold - that you make a great player. Sincerely yours, Forrest C. Allen "Phog"

My dad would have been about 15 at the time. He did end up playing football at Baker a few years later, but not basketball. I was floored when I saw it. The book was one day from being taken to good will. Now, it will be something that holds a place of honor in my house.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

raprichard - I'm very sorry about the loss of your dad.

That is an awesome story about the book inscription! I know that is something you will always treasure and hopefully it will become a great family heirloom.

God bless you and yours.

Mike Kendall 10 years, 11 months ago


+1---I echo your thoughts, too, in regard to raprichard's dad.

BTW---funny comment about the new barn at Silo Tech. I love humor. Nice one!

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

Thanks mikendal - I like humor too. Sometimes it just comes out stupid, but we gotta try to have a sense of humor or this world will eat you up.

Pitthawk34 10 years, 11 months ago

Bad idea. The rules are a historical document therefore they muct be treated as such. They need to be in a controlled envirnment which I am sure theare working on right now. By placing them anywhere in the stands overtime with all the vibrations, perspiration, and light they will degrade. Remember these rules must last a lifetime and being irresponsible to preserve them should be a crime.
I would say add on to the fieldhouse. Build a bigger gift store and add somewhere to eat. The rules should be housed in something like how the original american flag is housed in Washington DC. One way in and one way out and all being in a controlled environment. Remember there i only one original rules and they must last forever.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 11 months ago

Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta, Original Rules of Basket Ball. Hmmm.......

It is an important piece of history. Let's face it though, if these two pieces of paper were written by somone other than Dr. Naismith and were "enshrined" in any other location in the world, would you make a pilgrimage just to see them, regardless how big a fan of basketball you were?

I'm not downplaying the value and respect that should be given to this artifact. I just feel like it needs to be put into perspective, outside the Jayhawk community. The Booth facility in AFH is awe-inspiring to me. Purists of the game of basketball probably do visit this facility aside from attending a game. But, a focus group or some sort of research would reveal the true global interest and should dictate the manner in which this is displayed. Sometimes the most valuable art work is displayed with the most minimalistic style to enhance the piece itself.

AverageCitizen 10 years, 11 months ago

Well, people do go out of their way to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, etc. I think people might not plan a vacation around it but would include it if it was close to someplace they are going anyway. I can just see College GameDay setting up their booth right next the rules and have it displayed all day. Great for recruiting, prestige and school pride.

Ranchohawk 10 years, 11 months ago

I would like to see the rules displayed in the context of a library dedicated to basketball. It could focus not only on the history of basketball, but also include current and future works on the game. An extensive film library could be a great contribution. Let's make it an educational institution rather than a tourist trap. It could include a small theater and conference rooms where seminars for HS coaches could be held. It could also provide part of the curriculum for the BB camps for kids. Let's use it to build the future instead of just enshrining the past. RCJH!

DCLawHawk 10 years, 11 months ago

That's an interesting idea. Something more like KU's Dole Center for Politics than like a museum? I think I like that concept.

Scott MacWilliams 10 years, 11 months ago

I'm so glad that Naismith's original rules are in Lawrence. I live in Eugene, OR, and the new Ducks arena is interesting in the way they used all these images from their sports history to cover parts of the walls in the hallways. It's like an art museum of sports. One thought that just occurred to me, is to take the original rules and make a copy, blow it up to like 6' tall and then put it on the walls somewhere, maybe several places, around the halls of AFH. You could have your picture taken with the rules... That way everyone can read the rules, get a feel for how much the game has changed, and also get a kick out of knowing that the original document is close by. Then not everyone would have to file by the glass case to see the small print on the faded paper.

Anyway, I'm sure they'll do a great job, and it's the perfect place for Dr. Naismith's notes.


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