The intercollegiate athletic teams at the University of Akron are known as the Zips. Teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) at the Division I level and in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for college football. Since 1992, the Zips have been members of the Mid-American Conference. The Zips name is unique in college athletics and comes from "zippers", rubber overshoes made by the BF Goodrich Company that were popular in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1925, a campus-wide contest had been conducted to choose a nickname for the university's athletic teams. Suggestions submitted by students, faculty, and alumni included Golden Blue Devils, Tip Toppers, Rubbernecks, Hillbillies, Kangaroos, and Cheveliers. The winner, freshman Margaret Hamlin, received a prize of $10 for "Zippers". Athletic director Kenneth Cochrane officially shortened the nickname to Zips in 1950. The university's mascot is "Zippy", a kangaroo. Zippy is one of only a few female college mascots in the United States.
The 1978 men's archery team, led by 3-time national individual college champion Richard Bednar and hall-of-fame coach Bill Bednar, was the first team in UA history to win a national collegiate team championship.