'Challenge' ahead for basketball rules at KU

Saturday, August 27, 2011

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.