If you think the rafters in the south end zone of Allen Fieldhouse are loaded with retired Kansas University basketball players' jerseys now, just wait.
KU officials have liberalized criteria to the extent that it will enable nine more jerseys to be lofted onto the Jayhawks' row of immortality.
"I like it," KU coach Roy Williams said Thursday. "I think that will get us up to 18 players, and we've played for 105 years."
Eight jersey replicas currently hang in the fieldhouse, not including Lynette Woodard, the only female honoree. They'll be joined by the nine new names, plus Drew Gooden, who qualified under the old rules by being named co-player of the year following the 2001-2002 season.
Criteria has been expanded to include consensus first-team All-Americans, two-time first-team All-Americans and Academic All-American of the Year.
The new honorees are:
- Tus Ackerman, an All-American in 1924 and 1925.
- Howard Engleman, a consensus All-American in 1941.
- Gale Gordon, an All-American in 1925 and 1926.
- Raef LaFrentz, an All-American in 1997 and 1998.
- Al Peterson, an All-American in 1925 and 1926.
- Paul Pierce, a consensus first-team All-American in 1998.
- Fred Pralle, a consensus first-team All-American in 1938.
- Jacque Vaughn, the Academic All-American of the Year in 1997.
- Jo Jo White, an All-American in 1968 and 1969.
Players whose jerseys are currently hanging in the fieldhouse are both the Charlie Blacks, B.H. Born, Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Endacott, Ray Evans, Clyde Lovellette and Danny Manning.
"I think the criteria had become outdated," Williams said. "Eighteen is still a pretty special number out of 105 years. It's not like we're giving these things away."
The concept of retiring jerseys -- not jersey numbers -- began prior to the 1992-93 season. Originally, the player had to have been named national player of the year, MVP of the NCAA Tournament or a four-time All-American.
In 1997, the criteria was expanded to include Ray Evans who was an All-American in both football and basketball.
Many of the new honorees will be feted at halftime of men's basketball games during the 2002-2003 season.
"I wish we could have done this before some of the people passed away," Williams said.
Ackerman, Peterson and Pralle are dead.