The University of Akron's athletic teams are known as the "Zips," originally short for "Zippers," overshoes that were nationally popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and the zipper-an invention from Akron (Judson). The university's mascot is "Zippy", a kangaroo. Zippy is one of only two female college mascots in the United States.
Akron's major football rivalry is with Kent State University, who they play for the Wagon Wheel. They also formerly played Youngstown State University for the Steel Tire until that series was discontinued in 1995.
In 2005, The Men's Basketball team, under head coach Keith Dambrot, won their first ever Division 1 post season game by defeating Temple in the NIT, led by first team All-MAC performer Romeo Travis (former teammate of LeBron James in high school) and also won the most games in a season, 23. The Akron Zips football team won their very first MAC championship giving them a chance to play in the Motor City Bowl, Akron's first Division I-A bowl game appearance where they lost to the University of Memphis. That same year the Women's Cross Country team and the Men's Soccer team also won the MAC championship in their respective sports. The Men's soccer team was also the first team in the history of UA sports to have a #1 rating in the whole nation. Needless to say, attendance at athletic events over the last two years has been up.
In 2007, The Men's Basketball team finished with a 26-7 season.