pigskin, sheepskin and academic

Donald M Lance lancedm at MISSOURI.EDU
Tue Jul 16 16:30:02 UTC 2002

on 7/16/02 6:52 PM, Prof. R. Sussex at r.sussex at MAILBOX.UQ.EDU.AU wrote:

> Can someone please explain the use of "pigskin" and "sheepskin"
> ("cow's skin"?) in relation to scholarships and academia in the US?
> Does "pigskin" refer to students on sports scholarships? There is a
> reference at
> http://www.missouri.edu/~hdfswww/Graduate_Program/Graduate_Handbook/Honors___A
> wards/honors___awards.html

The explanation of "pigskin" in this scholarship is explained in the web

 "Pigskin Preschool," which was initiated in 1975 by the HDFS staff and
students who volunteer their time to provide care for children whose parents
attend MU football games.

The fund began in connection with the babysitting program offered by the
people in the Division of Human Environmental Sciences, specifically the
Department of Child Development, but it is now just a term they use as a
sort of in-joke.

Footballs are ostensibly made from pigskin, or were at some time in the

Here's an interesting application of "slam jam" and "pigskin" in teaching
geography to kids who would rather be shooting baskets or throwing


I didn't see any references to sheepskin in the University of Missouri list
-- the university where I taught for a quarter of a century.

We use the term "sheepskin" to refer to a diploma awarded at graduation from
any level of education.  Mine have all been on paper, but apparently one
college has been acquiring actual sheep skin for theirs.  See this debate:


And here's another interesting site that came when I googled for "sheepskin


We use 'hide' with cow and buffalo, but 'skin' with deer, sheep, goat.  I
suppose the thickness and suppleness of the tanned product plays a role in
determining whether it's skin or hide.  A rawhide whip is a likely cultural
object, but never a rawskin whip.  The term 'rawhide' never fails to conjure
up images from horse operas, particularly the TV show by that name.


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