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Original Basketball Rules Get Permanent Home
April 18, 2013

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The rules of basketball will have a new home.

The original two-page document containing James Naismith's 13 basic rules sold at auction in 2010 for $4.3 million. (At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for sports memorabilia.)

The man who bought the rules, David Booth, is an alumnus of the University of Kansas, the first basketball of which was Naismith himself. (In an odd twist, Naismith is the only coach in the university's history to have a losing record.)

Naismith was a physical education teacher at a YMCA training facility in Springfield, Mass., when he came up with the idea for an athletic game that eventually became basketball. On December 21, 1891, he wrote down his 13 rules:

  1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
  2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands.
  3. A player can't run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man running at good speed.
  4. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
  5. No shouldering, holding, striking, pushing, or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next basket is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
  6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of rules three and four and such described in rule five.
  7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).
  8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there (without falling), providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
  9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.
  10. The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify people according to Rule 5.
  11. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the baskets, with any other duties that are usually performed by a scorekeeper.
  12. The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
  13. The side making the most points in that time is declared the winner.

Some rules are no longer followed, others (such as no provision for dribbling) have been altered, and some can still be found verbatim in the rules of today.

The rules will be on prominent display in a three-story facility to be called the DeBruce Center, named after the major donors, Paula and Katherine DeBruce. The center will be on Naismith Drive and will be connected to Allen Field House, where the KU basketball teams still play.

The center will also contain meeting rooms for university personnel and the public.

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