The final — and signature — piece of the new DeBruce Center next to Allen Fieldhouse was officially put on display at 10:15 a.m. Friday.
James Naismith’s original rules of basketball, a two-page document bought by KU alumnus David Booth in 2010 for $3.8 million, were unveiled for the first time on the second floor of the building, with KU coach Bill Self and athletic director Sheahon Zenger among the people who made their way over to see the historic artifact.
“It’s a monumental feeling,” Zenger said. “It’s history.”
Curtis Marsh, director of the DeBruce Center, said care had been taken so that the rules would be accessible for fans but also preserved for the future.
The glass in front of the case is electrochromic, with Marsh comparing it to transition lenses in eyeglasses. When a button is pressed on the side of the rules, electricity is sent through the glass to make it transparent so the rules can be seen. If the button is not pressed for a few minutes, the case remains dark, which helps to preserve the document.
“We want them to be legible for another 100 years or more,” Marsh said.
The rules are housed in a second-story walkway that connects the DeBruce Center to an Allen Fieldhouse entrance.
“Having the rules in place right next to the Fieldhouse where our game is played is just such an exciting exclamation mark on the statement that we give so frequently,” Marsh said. “This is the best program. It’s the best place to watch a college game. And now, it’s the only place that you can actually come and visit the original rules of the sport.”