Where does the saying "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" come from? When did it start being used at sporting events?
The chant was started by E.H.S. Bailey, a professor of chemistry. He wanted a cheer for his science club, and on a trip back to Lawrence from a convention in Wichita, Bailey and some associates developed the rhythmic chant, patterning it after the cadence of their train rolling down the track. On May 21, 1886, Bailey submitted the cheer to his club.
Before the university adopted the cheer in 1897, it consisted of "Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, KU" repeated three times. An English professor suggested that "Rock Chalk" be substituted for "Rah, Rah" because it rhymed with "Jayhawk." "Rock Chalk" also was symbolic of the chalky limestone formations found on Mount Oread.