Kansas constructing facility that will house James Naismith's original rules
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The original ''Rules of Basket Ball'' recorded by James Naismith will soon have a permanent home -- just off Naismith Drive, and a couple of traveling calls from Naismith Court.
The University of Kansas broke ground Friday on an $18 million facility connected to Allen Fieldhouse that will house the documents, which were purchased by Kansas alumnus David Booth at auction for $4.3 million in 2010 with the intention of displaying them at the school.
The 32,000-square-foot DeBruce Center will also include a new training table for the Jayhawks' basketball programs, along with an activity center and meeting space that are intended to make the building into a student union for the south part of campus.
''It has been debatable that [Allen Fieldhouse] is the best home court in college basketball. It is debatable that there are other schools out there that can challenge,'' said Kansas head coach Bill Self, accompanied by university officials including chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.
''It will not be debatable any longer once this structure is erected and we are able to house the rules and take what is the coolest and most historic building, where the walls still sweat, and add all the modern amenities that every school in the country would yearn for.''
The groundbreaking is only the latest step in a series of basketball-related projects.
In February, the school also received a lead gift for a $17.5 million apartment complex that will house 32 men's and women's basketball players and 34 non-athlete students; NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from residing in dorms by themselves. The school also completed major renovations to Allen Fieldhouse in 2009, including work on its adjoining buildings.
The DeBruce Center also will be connected to Allen Fieldhouse by a walkway through the second-floor concourse of the Booth Hall of Athletics, built in 2006 to house the school's hall of fame.
The centerpiece of the DeBruce Center, of course, will be the hall featuring the original two-page document on which, in 1891, Naismith outlined the 13 basic rules for basketball.
When the rules came to auction, Booth was convinced that the only appropriate home for them was Kansas, where Naismith founded the program in 1898 and spent nine years as its coach. The story of his purchase, at the time the most ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia, was profiled recently on ESPN.