Varsity is an alteration and shortening of the term university. The
meaning differs depending on the region, but is usually related to
1 Varsity in the United Kingdom
2 Varsity in North America
3 Varsity in the Netherlands
4 Varsity in South Africa
5 See also
Varsity in the United Kingdom
Main article: Varsity match
In the United Kingdom, varsity team or varsity club refers to groups
participating in varsity matches in sport or other competitions
between rival universities, most famously
Oxford University vs.
Cambridge University; also
King's College London
King's College London vs. University
University of Bristol
University of Bristol vs.
University of the West of
University of Sheffield
University of Sheffield vs. Sheffield Hallam University,
among others. The term originally referred strictly to
university-sponsored teams, and dates from the 1840s.
Varsity in North America
United States and
Canada varsity teams are the principal
athletic teams representing a college, university, high school, or
other secondary school. Such teams compete against similar teams at
corresponding educational institutions. Groups of varsity sports teams
are often organized into athletic conferences, which are groups of
teams that regularly play each other during a given athletic season.
In recognition of their high level of performance, athletes on varsity
teams are often given varsity letters. They are in contrast to the
institution's club sports. A major difference between varsity and club
sports is the source for allocated funds. Varsity teams receive
financial support, equipment, and facilities from college and
university athletic department budgets. Universities often allocate
club sport budgets through student life departments similar to other
clubs on campus. Because club sports cost more than other clubs, many
club student-athletes must pay to play and also engage in team
fundraising efforts to pay for facilities time, equipment, and other
team expenses. At various levels of collegiate sports, varsity
student athletes are eligible for scholarships solely or partially
based on athletic skills.
Varsity can be compared with the junior varsity level, which is
typically for less-experienced underclassmen. Players may be able
to go up a level to varsity playing by performing well.
Varsity in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the Varsity is the oldest and most prestigious
rowing race. It was held for the first time in 1878, and was started
as a Dutch equivalent for the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge.
Varsity in South Africa
See also: Varsity Football (South Africa)
South Africa and some other Commonwealth countries, varsity is
often still used in place of the word university, in contexts
unrelated to sporting activity.
^ "Definition of 'varsity'". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 7 February
^ a b "UNB cuts teams eligible for varsity athletics funding".
Canadian Broadcasting Company. March 14, 2008. Retrieved May 3,
^ Van Zytveld, Jon (Oct 26, 2011). "Club Sports Offer Athletic
Opportunities". Grand Valley Lanthorn. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
^ "Illinois Athletic Development".
University of Illinois. Retrieved
May 3, 2012.
^ "Varsity vs. Junior Varsity". NAIA.
^ "Expo highlights tech student innovators". ITWeb. Retrieved 26
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