Construction of new home for Naismith’s basketball rules delayed until next spring

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Dr. James Naismith’s official rules to the game of basketball are incredibly valuable, with Kansas alumnus David Booth paying a staggering $4.3 million for the document in a 2010 auction. However, instead of keeping the rules for himself Booth made the decision to donate the rules to his beloved alma mater.

Booth made the donation while also suggesting that the school build a facility to house the rules, and it turns out that the DeBruce Center won’t be built in time for the 2013-14 campaign. With there being concerns regarding lighting (given the age of the document, this is a detail that can’t be overlooked) and other design issues, construction of the new facility won’t begin until the spring of 2014.

The hope is that design plans will be submitted in early 2014. There are high hopes for the DeBruce Center and for obvious reasons, and given the importance of the project planners can’t afford to leave any stone unturned.

“The DeBruce Center will serve not only as a must-see destination landmark for sports fans and history buffs,” KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said earlier this year, “But (it will also serve) as an important, integral part of campus benefiting students, faculty and visitors alike.”

First, though, KU had to figure out what the building would look like. And [KU Endowment president Dale] Seuferling said design questions pushed back the start date. KU officials, Seuferling said, wanted to be sure the new building didn’t affect the sightlines of Allen Fieldhouse’s exterior.

Waiting until the spring to begin construction means that fans won’t have their game-day experience affected this season. No work will be done to Allen Fieldhouse itself, but navigating the area surrounding a construction site could end up being an inconvenience for some fans/visitors. There won’t be games to deal with when construction begins, and if there is a need to make adjustments in the fall of 2014 at least fans will have ample time to plan accordingly.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.