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Ragin’ Cajun Football – What Is A Zip?

University of Akron

This Saturday your Ragin’ Cajuns will take on The Zips of Akron. What is a Zip? I am sure in Ohio they are wondering what a Ragin Cajun is too.  So this is a mutual confusion society that we have percolating before this weekend’s football game. I decided to seek out the answer to the question ‘What is a Zip?”


Depending upon where you search you will find that a “zip” is a lot of things. According to No Slang it is a drug term. So cheering for The Zips would be equal to cheering for methamphetamine. I am guessing that is not the definition of zip that is sanctioned by the University of Akron.

According to Urban Dictionary “zip” is nothing. Can you imagine the cheerleaders leading  the crowd in a giant yell for nothing? That can’t be right either. There has to be more to this story and it begins with a shoe and ends with a kangaroo. You’re gonna have to trust me on this.

The original mascot of the university was going to be The Zippers. This was taken from a popular rubber shoe of the early 1900’s. You have to understand rubber and Akron Ohio have a long standing tradition together; think tires. The B.F. Goodrich rubber company was head quartered in Akron and the idea of giving the local university a mascot with a local flavor was considered a good idea. Much like we consider Ragin’ Cajuns to be a dynamic connection to our neck of the woods.

So why did the school shorten the name Zippers to Zips? It has to do with your pants actually. Because back in the day pants were buttoned in the fly, the association of zippers with the crotch area of the body was not that common. As pants with zippers became more common so did the unsavory comments about having your sports team named after something that was most commonly found near a persons private area. So the advent of zippers in pants led to the change in name to Zips in the early 1950’s.

How does a kangaroo fit in to all this? Well all schools need a mascot and since we’ve already established that a giant zipper on the field would only bring laughter and not team spirit the university decided to have a contest among the student body to come up with a symbol. That is how Zippy the Kangaroo came to be.

“it is an animal that is fast, agile and powerful with undying determination – all the necessary qualities of an athlete.”

That was their story and they are sticking to it. So the best I have been able to figure out on the subject of “What is a Zip” is this. It is a former zipper that thinks it’s kangaroo.


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