David and Suzanne Booth Purchase Naismith's Original Rules For $3.8 Million At Auction

LAWRENCE, Kan. – KU alumnus David Booth and his wife Suzanne purchased the original rules of basketball at auction Friday afternoon for $3.8 million. The buyer’s premium brought the final price to more than $4.3 million.

The game’s inventor and KU’s first basketball coach, James Naismith, tacked the rules to a YMCA wall in December 1891. The auction, conducted by Sotheby’s, was authorized by Ian Naismith, James Naismith’s grandson, who had retained possession of the rules for several years. Ian Naismith told Kansas Athletics that the proceeds from the auction would go to the Naismith International Basketball Foundation, which, he said, promotes sportsmanship and provides services to in-need youth.

“Earlier this afternoon, Interim Athletics Director Sean Lester and I visited with David and learned that it is his goal for the rules to be displayed at KU,” said Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. “On behalf of all Jayhawk fans, we thank him for his generosity.”

“We are delighted to learn that David and Suzanne Booth have acquired Naismith’s Rules of Basketball, a piece of sports history that is intertwined with the University of Kansas and its storied tradition of basketball excellence,” said University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “Naismith was KU’s first coach and started what would become one of the winningest college basketball programs in the nation, and certainly the most tradition-rich.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Booths on developing an appropriate plan to display the rules in keeping with their expectations,” she continued. “I want to thank David and Suzanne for this tremendous opportunity to further cement KU and Allen Fieldhouse as the center of the college basketball world.”

“Both David and Mark Booth and their families have been unbelievably generous to the University of Kansas and Kansas Athletics over the most recent years,” Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self said. “Just today, David and Suzanne Booth brought a lot of pride, history and tradition back to what we think, in a biased way, to be the most tradition-rich basketball school in America by purchasing Dr. James Naismith’s original rules.

“I visited with David about this, reiterated to him our excitement level and what pride our alumni base would feel by him generously doing this,” Self added. “We’re very happy he was able to pull it off, very proud and certainly appreciative of what David and Suzanne and the rest of their family have done for this University. The pride in having these rules here in Lawrence will last far longer than any of us will; it will last for many generations.”

David Booth is chairman and chief executive officer of Dimensional Fund Advisors. He and his wife, Suzanne Deal Booth, live in Austin, Tx. David received a bachelor’s degree in economics from KU in 1968, and a master’s degree in business from KU in 1969.