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Rothstein Files: Collegiate Athletics As We Once Knew It Is Officially Over

By Jon Rothstein
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Those of us who believe in traditions wake up and cringe in the morning before we look at our computers or check our phones.

The news keeps coming so rapidly these days that we don't really have a choice.

Collegiate athletics as we once knew it is officially over.

The Big East Conference, which for a long time was the backbone of college basketball, is much less than a shell of its former self. The league is now turning into the type of hodgepodge you get when you're attempting to put together a quick meal at an airport when you have an hour between connecting flights.

The Big East Tournament -- that magical week each March that we all spent at Madison Square Garden? That tradition will dissipate after 2013.

What traditions are left? That's a good question, especially since it seems like traditions don't matter anymore.

On Wednesday, Louisville became the sixth former Big East school to join the ACC. This comes a week after Rutgers and Maryland, a charter member of the original ACC, left to join the Big Ten.

Chaos? Absolutely.

Traditions? Not like we knew them, that's for sure.

This hasn't become an attempt for different schools and universities to better themselves for their athletic futures. On the contrary, it's become a conscious effort to stay ahead of the posse.

Find a home before there isn't one available -- that's the way it's working these days.

When I first heard the news a little over 12 months ago that Syracuse and Pitt were leaving the Big East for the ACC, I didn't want to believe it.

But it happened.

And then West Virginia left for the Big 12 and Notre Dame left for the ACC.

Now schools like Cincinnati and UConn are doing everything they can to leave the Big East.

Leave the Big East? The conference that in 2009 had three No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament? Yes, that's what business does. That's what happens when football is the driving force and panic sets in with athletic directors.

In Notre Dame's football locker room in South Bend, there is a sign that reads "Tradition Never Graduates."

That obviously doesn't apply to collegiate athletics anymore. Traditions no longer matter.

Or maybe, some new ones are just about to begin.

As the schools and the traditions dissipate, is it becoming difficult for you to remain a college sports fan? Or is it all about the action on the court/field for you? Let us know in the comments section below...

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