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The Drexel Dragons are finally being welcomed into the tradition of Philadelphia basketball.

After being snubbed from the NCAA Tournament with a 29-7 record, the Dragons have been invited to join the Big 5 and replace Penn as the token member on 33rd Street.

“I have tremendous respect for that program,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said. “But I’ve played and coached in the Big 5 — it doesn’t exist without Penn.”

Drexel coach Bruiser Flint, who played college ball at fellow Big 5 member St. Joseph’s, was surprised by the move, but accepted the invitation with open arms.

“Jerome and I are friends,” he said. “But you don’t pass up this opportunity. I am honored to bring Drexel into the storied tradition of Big 5 basketball.”

Allen wouldn’t comment specifically on whether his team would try to schedule any of the Big 5 schools in the coming seasons, only saying, “We can do better.”

The move comes despite the fact that the Big 5 originated with Penn Athletic Director Jerry Ford in 1954.

“We only kept Penn in the Big 5 because of the Palestra,” the Big 5 said in a press release. “With most Big 5 games now played at the other schools’ home courts, it didn’t make sense for Penn to be a part of the league when Drexel has proved to be a more competitive program.”

Penn now assumes the role of the sixth wheel of Philadelphia college hoops. After years of denial, Quakers fans will finally have to acknowledge the existence of the City 6.

For more information, check out this related story.

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