Naismith’s rules will have a new home in Allen Fieldhouse fall 2014

The University of Kansas will begin construction on an addition to Allen Fieldhouse later this year to house James Naismith’s original hand-typed rules of basketball.

With a planning budget of $18 million, KU Endowment will raise private funds from donors to cover the construction costs to build the new student center on the southern edge of campus. The main feature of the building is display space for Naismith’s rules, but it will also provide services and programs for University students, faculty and public visitors. The construction is on target to be complete and open to the public by fall of 2014.

Ashleigh Lee/KANSAN Allen Fieldhouse will be home to the Naismith's original rules of basketball later on this year when construction begins on the new exhibit in the  Booth Family Hall of Athletics. "There's No Place Like Home"  an ESPN 30 for 30 film documented Josh Swade mission to bring the rules back to the University of Kansas.

Ashleigh Lee/KANSAN
Allen Fieldhouse will be home to the Naismith’s original rules of basketball later on this year when construction begins on the new exhibit in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. “There’s No Place Like Home” an ESPN 30 for 30 film documented Josh Swade mission to bring the rules back to the University of Kansas.

KU Endowment President Dale Seuferling said the building will be an extension of the historical display of the Booth Family Hall of Athletics in Allen Fieldhouse.

“It will have a lot of history, mainly because of the rules of basketball,” Seuferling said. “There will be displays constructed around the rules about James Naismith’s impact on basketball, his role at KU, the traditions of KU basketball and the strong history of basketball coaches at KU.”

Seuferling also said the building will be similar to the Kansas Union, with dining services and space for students and faculty to work and socialize. The building will be operated by the Kansas Union because of its expertise in food service, and the Union will provide various programs, events and activities for the public. Seuferling said the addition is expected to be a tourist attraction for visitors, draw in University alumni, serve as an important spot for student recruiting visits and offer activities before and after basketball games.

The new student center would not be a reality without the efforts of Jayhawk basketball fan Josh Swade. He led the plan to purchase Naismith’s rules and bring them to the University. Swade grew up in Kansas, and his parents are University alumni. He said he felt compelled to find a way to purchase the rules because he thought they needed to be in the school with the largest basketball tradition, as well as the place where James Naismith made his legacy.

Swade visited the University this February to talk about his experience and show his documentary about his journey to obtain the rules called “There’s No Place Like Home,” produced by ESPN Films’ “30 for 30.” The quest began when the Naismith International Basketball Foundation put the rules up for auction in 2010 at Sotheby’s in New York. Swade was the brains behind the operation to get the rules, but he needed donors to buy them. He eventually teamed with David Booth, a member of KU Endowment Association’s board of trustees, who purchased the two-page document for $4.3 million.

“I can’t imagine that I’ll ever do anything as significant or as satisfying or as cool…This is kind of one of those extraordinary moments in one’s life where you can do something that will be truly memorable,” Booth said in “There’s No Place Like Home” after the winning the auction.

The Kansas City Star reported that along with his financial contribution, Booth requested a building be constructed in Lawrence to display the rules. In a few months, Lawrence will see this building and James Naismith’s rules adjacent to the northeast corner of Allen Fieldhouse.

  • Updated Apr. 10, 2013 at 11:37 pm