KANSAS CITY, Mo. —A group of University of Kansas leaders soon will be charged with coming up with a permanent place to display James Naismith's original rules of "Basket Ball," purchased in December by Kansas alum and major benefactor David Booth.
Booth bought the rules, penned in 1891, for $4.3 million with the expressed intent to have them permanently displayed at the university.
Booth said at the time that the rules would need "an appropriate venue," perhaps a new museum.
"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 associate athletics director Jim Marchiony.
Booth, who now lives with his wife, Suzanne, in Texas, said a KU athletics museum adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse that bears his family's name wouldn't be big enough to handle the crowds that would want to see the rules that created the game of basketball.
"I think it's a little bigger than the Booth Family Hall of Athletics," Booth said. "This is serious stuff."
Naismith penned the 13 rules on Dec. 21, 1891, for the YMCA training school in Springfield. His boss had given him two weeks to come up with a new indoor activity for his gym class, and he wrote down the rules on the eve of that deadline.
He gave the list to his secretary, who typed them up on two pages that Naismith pinned on a bulletin board outside the gym.
Marchiony said the group, which he tentatively called a task force, likely will convene sometime in the next few weeks to start talking about constructing a new venue for the rules.
Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment Association, said the group will focus on coming up with a place to store, display and feature the rules.
"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 in the middle of June or the middle of December. It's got public access. There's a parking garage."
Naismith moved to Lawrence in 1898 and became the first basketball coach at the University of Kansas. He coached for nine seasons before assuming other academic duties and serving as athletics director.
One of his players was Forrest "Phog" Allen, who went on to become popularly known as the "father of basketball coaches."
The two are memorialized on the Kansas campus, where the basketball court at Allen Fieldhouse is named James Naismith Court.
Naismith died in 1939, three years after his new game became an official sport at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
In the meantime, the rules will go on exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., from March 5 through May 29.
The timing coincides with the start of the Big 12 basketball tournament on March 9, the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association tournament starting March 3, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament that kicks off March 16.