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March 3, 1973: We get a new scoreboard
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Fred Bramlage of Junction City has done more than make the 'octagon of doom' possible - back in 1973 he donated to provide a modern scoreboard.

Fred (on the right) did this in honor of Thomas J. Griffith (on the left) a member of the Board of Regents who had recently died.

I hope that truck in the background represents Bramlage's business and not a bad bit of composition.

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Before we get to the new scoreboard, let's look at the old one.

I've never been able to find a clear photo of it nor an internet image of an identical one - more on that in the next image.

This image is copied from the media guide - it is from the first game in Ahearn. Note the radio boxes above the clock. A ladder - yes, a ladder - was used to climb into those boxes. Later a larger press box was added below the scoreboard.

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How did it work? A ring of lights, 60 in all, were around the rim. They would wink off one by one to indicate the remaining seconds of the minute. The indicator in the middle would show how many minutes were left.

The trick was that there was a one second interval each minute with no lights showing which always confused visiting coaches. Did a "1" and no lights mean 1:59 seconds left or :59 left? It meant 1:00 but was confusing.

I have, in poking around the internet, never found an exact copy of our clock. There are plenty of images of the "Fair-Play" version I've shown here where the ring of lights are replaced by a clock hand.

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And here is what we got in 1973, a big step up. For one thing, it could handle scores of over 99 points, not much of an issue in the 50s, but sometimes useful in the modern era. And you could tell how much time was left. It hung in the middle of the court and its four side display was also a big step up.

Current NCAA rules, by the way, require tenths of a second display when less than one minute remains in a period.

Last modified 8/30/21; original content. 2021 John P. Nordin