In ?35, KU/K-State tested new rules

KU and K-State have been playing basketball for over 100 years. The first recorded game played between the two occurred Jan. 25, 1907, as KU thumped their friends to the west, 54-39. Just two weeks later, in a rematch played in Manhattan, K-State evened the series with a 29-25 victory.

Since those days, the schools have battled nearly 300 times with KU claiming the ?Jayhawks? share? of victories. No game played between the two, however, was quite like the two contests played at the beginning of the 1935 season.

Jayhawk Coach Phog Allen had been an untiring advocate of rule changes in the game. For instance, he felt the game was dominated too much by big men. He also felt the game was too slow to be entertaining for player and fan alike.

Allen, who at the time was the chairperson of the National Research Committee on Rules, decided to put a few new basketball wrinkles to the test. KU and K-State agreed to play two experimental games, one in Lawrence and the other in Manhattan.

The games involved many new rules, but three changes in particular garnered a lot of attention. Free throws were shot at the nearest goal to the foul, the baskets were raised to 12 feet and each field goal counted for three (not two) points.

On Dec. 14, 1934, Kansas State won the first contest, 39-35, in an overtime affair in Lawrence. Four days later, the second game was played in Manhattan and this time the Hawks prevailed, 40-26. Both schools today claim the victories for their official records.

After each game, questionnaires were handed out to coaches, players and fans to assess their opinions of the new changes. The results were mixed. Fans generally favored any rules changes that would increase scoring and speed up the game, but frowned upon rules that seemed to punish taller players.

Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of the game, agreed with those sentiments. ?The higher baskets have many advantages and disadvantages,? Naismith said in an interview at the time. ?They do handicap a half dozen or more exceptionally tall players, but why place that handicap upon millions of smaller players as well??

Despite all the effort, few if any permanent changes emerged from the games. These games are just another remarkable story from the basketball courts of Kansas Hoopla.

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Ideas, comments or questions: Contact smf2guard@yahoo.com. ? 2010 by Steven Michael Farney. All rights reserved.

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CORRECTION: In a recent Kansas Hoopla basketball column, it was reported that Steven Ziegler made the heroic shot in a game played between Olpe and Hartford. In reality, it was Gary Ziegler. My sincere apologies for the error.? ?Steven Michael Farney

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