Jack the Jackrabbit through the years

There are two theories as to how and why the Jackrabbits nickname evolved. The most common belief is that the name “Jackrabbits” came from a story and cartoon sketch that appeared in a Minneapolis newspaper following a 1905 football game between the University of Minnesota and South Dakota State College, as the university was then known. A reporter for the newspaper, knowing of the preponderance of jackrabbits in the Brookings area, was believed to have written that the SDSC team was as quick as jackrabbits. Many people believe that the school adopted the Jackrabbits as its official nickname from that beginning.

The other theory about the origin of the nickname is given in The Jackrabbit, SDSU’s yearbook. There is a poem in the 1907 yearbook that puts forth the idea that the yearbook is called The Jackrabbit because a group of juniors wished to immortalize themselves by changing the name of the yearbook. Athletic teams followed suit, adopting the nickname.

Prior to the adoption of the Jackrabbit nickname, school athletic teams were known as the Barn Yard Cadets as SDSU was known as South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1907.

Photos Courtesy of SDSU Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library & UMC

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