U Sports (stylized as U SPORTS) is the national sport governing body for universities in Canada, comprising the majority of degree-granting universities in the country and four regional conferences: Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), Canada West (CW), and Atlantic University Sport (AUS). The equivalent body for organized sports at colleges in Canada is the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Some institutions are members of both bodies for different sports.

U Sports
Formation1961; 63 years ago (1961)
Legal statusAssociation
HeadquartersRichmond Hill, Ontario
Region served
58 schools
Pierre Arsenault
Main organ
Executive Committee



Formation, CIAU, CIS


The original Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (CIAU) was founded in 1906 and existed until 1955, composed only of universities from Ontario and Quebec. The semi-national organization, CIAU Central, provided common rules and regulations.

A growth spurt between 1944–55 saw the CIAU Central grow into a large group of nineteen (19) member universities each of which had diverse enrollment, philosophy, and practices both academically and athletically. The result saw the collapse of CIAU Central as there was no forum to evaluate or research policy in order to adjudicate conflicts within the organization

At the same time women's programs were expanding and required organization. In 1923, the Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WIAU) was founded to provide athletic competition for female students in Ontario and the Ontario-Quebec Women's Intercollegiate Athletics (O-QWICA) coordinated programs for female students in Ontario and Quebec.

With the collapse of the CIAU Central in the mid-1950s, calls for a new, national governing body for university sport accelerated. Once the Royal Military College of Canada became a degree granting institution, Major W. J. (Danny) McLeod, athletic director at the RMC directed the establishment of the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (CIAU) in 1961.[1]

With financial assistance from the federal government, universities committed themselves to excellence in their sports programs, increased their schedules, and assigned coaches to year round programs to assist the federal government in identifying talent, national training centers, provision of facilities, sport research, and testing, all with an eye on developing international competitors.

Major McLeod ran the CIAU from his office at RMC as the first CIAU Secretary-Treasurer. In the 1960s the CIAU functioned as a voluntary, autonomous, educational sport organization which represented by the various universities from coast to coast.

In 1978, the Canadian Women's Interuniversity Athletic Union (CWIAU), which had formed in 1970, merged with the CIAU; the expanded CIAU reinforced its university focus by adjusting its name to the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union.

In June 2001, the membership of the CIAU voted to change the name and logo of the organization to Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). This new name more accurately reflect the mission and function of the organization since "athletics' conveyed "track and field" and the term "union" became associated with labour organizations.

Rebrand and new approach


On October 20, 2016, CIS announced that it would be changing its name to U Sports, accompanied by a new logo and approach to Canadian University sports. The name was chosen in part to better represent Canada as a bilingual nation with a united name as opposed to separate acronyms. The new name and look are also intended to increase the marketability of Canadian University sports.[2]

Signifying a major shift in the presentation of Canadian university sports, U Sports aims to better engage with Canadian sports fans and present the athletes it governs. To do so, U Sports aims to promote the stories of its key athletes through a new approach to social media as well as a new website in order to "create a massive change in the way Canadians see university sports in the digital era".[3]

Athletic funding & eligibility


The U Sports member institutions offer athletic scholarships known as Athletic Financial Awards (AFA); subject to minimum academic requirements. The AFA's are capped and may not exceed the value of the tuition and compulsory fees for the student-athlete. Universities also may provide additional non-athletic awards including academic scholarships and needs-based grants for athletes in addition to this cap, provided the additional awards do not include athletic criteria. In 2008-09 one in two U Sports athletes was receiving an athletic scholarship.[4]

Increasingly, U Sports schools are offering booster-support programs, where alumni, parents and/or corporations can donate money to a targeted fund especially designed to off-set a student-athlete's tuition and living costs. The University of Windsor has an Adopt-A-Lancer program,[5] for example. U Sports has no regulations regarding how much each school can provide to teams through private support. The Université Laval's Rouge et Or football team, winner of seven of the last 12 Vanier Cups, is so successful with fund raising that the team trains in Florida during the spring.[6]

Canadian Hockey League teams offer financial support for their graduates – who attend school within two years of playing major junior – who choose to play for a U Sports school after graduating from major junior hockey based on a model where the league will give scholarships commensurate with the seasons they played in the CHL.

Beginning with the 2024–25 season, students will be able to receive athletic scholarships regardless of the grades they receive in their final year of high school or CEGEP. U Sports institutions will also be required to give a minimum of 45 per cent of their total athletic scholarship units to athletes on men's teams and a minimum of 45 per cent to athletes on women's teams.[7]


Sports sanctioned include the following: basketball, cross country, curling, field hockey (women), football (men), ice hockey, rugby union (women), soccer, swimming, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.[8]

Men's team sports

No. Sport Founded Teams Season Most


1 Basketball 1962 48 Fall Carleton (17)
2 Curling 2008 N/A Fall Wilfrid Laurier (4)
3 Ice hockey 1961 35 Winter Alberta (16)
4 Football 1961 27 Winter Laval (11)
5 Soccer 1972 48 Fall UBC (13)
6 Volleyball 1966 31 Spring Manitoba, Winnipeg (10)

Men's individual sports

No. Sport Founded Teams Season
1 Cross country 1963 10 Fall
2 Swimming 1965 N/A Winter
3 Track & field 1981 N/A Spring
4 Wrestling 1969 N/A Winter

Women's team sports

No. Sport Founded Teams Season Most


1 Basketball 1977 48 Fall Victoria (9)
2 Curling 2008 N/A Fall Alberta (5)
3 Field hockey 1975 10 Fall UBC (19)
4 Ice hockey 1997 35 Winter Alberta (8)
5 Rugby union 1998 26 Fall Alberta, St. Francis Xavier (6)
6 Soccer 1987 53 Fall UBC (7)
7 Volleyball 1969 43 Spring UBC (13)

Women's individual sports

No. Sport Founded Teams Season
1 Cross country 1988 10 Fall
2 Swimming 1971 N/A Winter
3 Track & field 1981 N/A Spring
4 Wrestling 1999 N/A Winter

National championships


U Sports hosts national championships for the following sports:[9]

U Sports
Sport Men Women
Basketball 1963– 1987–
Cross country 1963– 1988–
Curling 2008– 2008–
Field hockey 1975–
Football 1965–
Ice hockey 1963– 1998–
Rugby union 1998–
Soccer 1972– 1987–
Swimming 1965– 1971–
Track & field 1981– 1981–
Volleyball (indoor) 1967– 1971–
Wrestling 1969– 1999–

Conferences and members


There are 58 member universities in U Sports. These 58 member universities are currently organized into the four following regional associations. In some of these sports, these associations are sometimes referred to as conferences. These conferences also organize regional championships.[10][11][12]

Institution Nickname City Province Founded Affiliation Enrollment Endowment Membership
Acadia University Axemen (M), Axewomen (W) Wolfville NS 1838 Public 4650 $40M AUS
Cape Breton University Capers Sydney NS 2005 Public 3500 $6.1M AUS
Dalhousie University Tigers Halifax NS 1818 Public 18,940 $478M AUS
Memorial University of Newfoundland Sea-Hawks St. John's NL 1925 Public 18,172 $93M AUS
Mount Allison University Mounties Sackville NB 1839 Public 2260 $141.1M AUS
Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus (M), Aigles Bleues (W) Moncton NB 1864 Public 4187 AUS
University of New Brunswick Reds Fredericton NB 1785 Public 9000 AUS
University of Prince Edward Island Panthers Charlottetown PEI 1969 Public 4000 AUS
Saint Mary's University Huskies Halifax NS 1802 Public 7040 $16.9M AUS
St. Francis Xavier University X-Men (M), X-Women (W) Antigonish NS 1853 Public 5150 $59.4M AUS
St. Thomas University Tommies Fredericton NB 1910 Public 2633 AUS
University of British Columbia Thunderbirds University Endowment Lands BC 1908 Public 43,579 $1.16B CW
Trinity Western University Spartans Langley BC 1962 Private-Christian 2,700 CW
University of Victoria Vikes Victoria BC 1903 Public 19,500 $348M CW
University of the Fraser Valley Cascades Abbotsford BC 1974 Public 21,500 CW
University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves Prince George BC 1990 Public 4,183 CW
Thompson Rivers University WolfPack Kamloops BC 1970 Public 13,072 CW
University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat Kelowna BC 2005 Public 6,015 CW
University of Alberta Golden Bears (M), Pandas (W) Edmonton AB 1908 Public 36,435 $1.0B CW
University of Calgary Dinos Calgary AB 1966 Public 28,196 $568M CW
MacEwan University Griffins Edmonton AB 1971 Public 13,889 CW
Mount Royal University Cougars Calgary AB 1910 Public 14,175 CW
University of Saskatchewan Huskies Saskatoon SK 1907 Public 19,082 $247M CW
University of Lethbridge Pronghorns Lethbridge AB 1967 Public 8,765 $24.5M CW
Brandon University Bobcats Brandon MB 1890 Public 3383 CW
University of Regina Rams (football), Cougars Regina SK 1911 Public 12,800 $25.9M CW
University of Winnipeg Wesmen Winnipeg MB 1871 Public 9,219 CW
University of Manitoba Bisons Winnipeg MB 1877 Public 27,599 $424M CW
Carleton University Ravens Ottawa ON 1942 Public 25,262 $190M OUA
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Ottawa ON 1848 Public 35,548 $201M OUA
University of Toronto Varsity Blues Toronto ON 1827 Public 56,383[13] $1.66B OUA
Toronto Metropolitan University Bold Toronto ON 1948 Public 24,000 $118M OUA
Queen's University Golden Gaels Kingston ON 1841 Public 20,566 $722M OUA
York University Lions Toronto ON 1959 Public 42,400 $373M OUA
Laurentian University Voyageurs Sudbury ON 1960 Public 7758 $36M OUA
Algoma University Thunderbirds Sault Ste. Marie ON 1964 Public 1427 OUA
Royal Military College of Canada Paladins Kingston ON 1876 Public 900[14] [a] OUA
Trent University Excalibur Peterborough ON 1964 Public 7160 $43M OUA
Nipissing University Lakers North Bay ON 1909 Public 6300 $11M OUA
Ontario Tech University Ridgebacks Oshawa ON 2003 Public 10000 OUA
University of Western Ontario Mustangs London ON 1878 Public 30,000 $685M OUA
University of Windsor Lancers Windsor ON 1857 Public 13,496 $70M OUA
McMaster University Marauders Hamilton ON 1887 Public 25,688 $553M OUA
University of Guelph Gryphons Guelph ON 1964 Public 19,408 $264M OUA
University of Waterloo Warriors Waterloo ON 1957 Public 27,978 $282M OUA
Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks Waterloo ON 1911 Public 12,394 OUA
Brock University Badgers St. Catharines ON 1964 Public 17,000[15] $74M OUA
Lakehead University Thunderwolves Thunder Bay ON 1946 Public 8050 $32.1M OUA
Concordia University Stingers Montreal QC 1896 Public 38,809 $54.4M RSEQ
Université Laval Rouge et Or Quebec City QC 1663 Public 37,591 $105.3M RSEQ
Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins Montreal QC 1969 Public 39,235 RSEQ
McGill University Redbirds (M), Martlets (W) Montreal QC 1821 Public 32,514 $1.32B RSEQ
Bishop's University Gaiters Lennoxville QC 1843 Public 2800 RSEQ[b]
École de technologie supérieure Piranhas Montreal QC 1974 Public 11,000 RSEQ
Université de Montréal Carabins Montreal QC 1878 Public 55,540 $276M RSEQ
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes Trois-Rivières QC 1969 Public 10,000 RSEQ
Université de Sherbrooke Vert & Or Sherbrooke QC 1954 Public 35,000 RSEQ
Université du Québec à Chicoutimi Inuk Chicoutimi QC 1969 Public 6,500 RSEQ
  1. ^ Federal ethics rules prohibit RMC from maintaining an endowment.
  2. ^ As of 2017, Bishop's plays football in AUS.




  • Sherrard Kuzz
  • Fox 40
  • Wilson
  • Mikasa Canada
  • Gilbert
  • Vereburn
  • Baron Rings
  • Nike
  • 88 Coaches Clinics
  • OGP Enterprises

See also


Notes and references

  1. ^ History of CIS Archived January 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Campbell, Morgan (October 20, 2016). "CIS rebrands as U Sports in an attempt to lure sponsors". The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  3. ^ "CIS announces rebrand; now named U Sports". October 20, 2016. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  4. ^ CIS English Archived September 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. English.cis-sic.ca. Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
  5. ^ Lancer Sports News. University of Windsor (website). "Lancer Football Introduces Touchdown Club" Archived February 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine accessed April 9, 2007
  6. ^ CBC News. Laval's team was profiled during their training camp in Florida. Broadcast before Vanier Cup 2006.
  7. ^ "U Sports drops first-year grade requirements for participation, scholarships". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  8. ^ CIS English Archived March 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. English.cis-sic.ca (July 15, 2013). Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
  9. ^ U Sports Championship Calendar
  10. ^ "Member Universities". U Sports. September 28, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  11. ^ "UQAC becomes U Sports' 57th member university". U Sports. June 15, 2023. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  12. ^ "ÉTS becomes U Sports' 58th member university". U Sports. June 14, 2024. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Profile of Royal Military College of Canada – Ontario, Universities in Canada Archived September 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Canadian-universities.net. Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
  15. ^ "Brock University Athletics - Official Athletics Website". Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  16. ^ "Corporate Partners". U Sports.
  • Knowles, Steve (2000), "Canadian University Hockey", in Diamond, Dan (ed.), Total Hockey (Second ed.), Total Sports Pub., pp. 69–78, ISBN 1-892129-85-X