Wikipedia (we used to quote Webster's Dictionary) describes it as a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past.
When it comes to college football, I'm wondering how long that word will apply.
I spent a recent Saturday in a Las Vegas sports book watching virtually every game from the obscure (Texas A&M-Commerce vs. University of Texas at San Antonio) to the high-profile (Georgia-Missouri).
But it didn't really matter what game was on. The only way I could tell who was playing was to check out the team names on the graphic located either at the top or the bottom of the screen.
Why? Because the uniforms virtually every team is wearing not only defy the tradition of the school, but makes the team virtually unidentifiable.
For example, for this past Saturday's game against traditional rival Maryland, West Virginia University wore grey jerseys. Never mind that the school's colors are old gold and blue. Never mind that West Virginia was formed when it broke away from Virginia, a member of the Confederacy, whose color was grey.
Uniforms are now -like virtually everything else involved with college football -a source of revenue. You get paid to wear a particular company's apparel.
We've gone from the highly-recognizable and widely accepted Nike swoosh to outlandish color schemes that defy logic and tradition.
Although they haven't surfaced this year, West Virginia has what it calls a gold on gold scheme that makes me call the Mountaineers the Tweety Birds as their color resembles that of Sylvester The Cat's long-time nemesis.
But uniforms are just one of many revenue sources that make me scratch my head. Take, for example, stadium naming rights. A booster with enough money can put their name on the stadium, never mind whether they had anything to do with the football program. Worse yet are the corporate names that permeate major sports arenas from coast to coast.
Plus, the sale of alcohol is becoming more prevalent at arenas no matter what level event is taking place there. West Virginia University enhanced its coffers by more than $600,000 last year by allowing beer sales at Mountaineer Field.
Of course the biggest source of revenue is television contracts. That's the motherlode when it comes to money.
The Big 12, for example, can benefit up to $2.5 billion over the next 13 years thanks its broadcast contracts.
College football is like a political campaign -it's an arms race. And in order to ensure you can be competitive, you must raise every dime you can get, no matter how distasteful the source of that money.
Otherwise, you soon will find yourself behind all the other programs who are taking the money.
After looking up the word tradition, I decided to make a printout of its meaning.
It may not be long before it completely disappears.