Etymology
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varsity (adj.)
1825, "university," variant of earlier versity (1670s), shortened form of university. Compare varsal (1690s), short for universal; varmint from vermin; and Grose's "Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" (1788) has vardy as slang for verdict. "Used in English universities, and affected to some extent in American colleges" [Century Dictionary].
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redshirt (v.)

"to withdraw (a player) from the varsity team to add a year to his or her eligibility," 1950, in reference to the red shirts worn by athletes on the scrimmage squad; from red (adj.1) + shirt (n.). Also as a noun, "a college athlete whose course of study is extended for the sake of sports eligibility" (by 1970). Earlier a red-shirt was "a supporter of Garibaldi" (1860s); hence, generally, "a revolutionary."

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scrub (n.1)
late 14c., "low, stunted tree," variant of shrobbe (see shrub), perhaps influenced by a Scandinavian word (such as Danish dialectal skrub "a stunted tree, brushwood"). Collective sense "brush, shrubs" is attested from 1805. As an adjective from 1710. Scrub oak recorded from 1766.

Transferred sense of "mean, insignificant fellow" is from 1580s; U.S. sports meaning "athlete not on the varsity team" is recorded from 1892, probably from this, but compare scrub "hard-working servant, drudge" (1709), perhaps from influence of scrub (v.).
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