U Sports

U Sports (stylized as U SPORTS) is the national sport governing body of university sport in Canada, comprising the majority of degree-granting universities in the country. Its 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
Legal statusAssociation
HeadquartersRichmond Hill, Ontario
Region served
56 schools
Graham Brown
Main organ
Executive Committee
Formerly called
  • Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (1961–1978)
  • Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union (1978–2001)
  • Canadian Interuniversity Sport (2001–2016)

Its name until October 20, 2016, was Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS; French: Sport interuniversitaire canadien, SIC).[1] On that date, the organization rebranded as "U Sports" in both official languages.

The original Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU) Central was founded in 1906 and existed until 1955, composed only of universities from 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.[2][3] 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.[2] It changed its name to Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) in June 2001 due to growing misconceptions about the name of the organization since the term "athletic" was associated with track and field and "union" with labour movements.

According to the organization, the name change to "U Sports" came about in part due to a desire for a brand that was "instantly recognizable and identical in both French and English."[1] The rebrand was accompanied by a new approach to presentation of Canadian University sports, its teams, and its players. The new, singular logo and name came with a new website to better present stories taking place throughout the athletics programs U Sports governs, bolstered by a new approach to social media.

Sanctioned sports


Men's Women's
Cross Country
Field hockey
Ice hockey
Rugby union
Track & Field

2016 rebrand

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 through a more marketable presentation.[5]

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".[6]

Athletic funding

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 2008/2009 one in two U Sports athletes was receiving an athletic scholarship.[7]

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,[8] 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 the last 12 Vanier Cups, is so successful with fund raising, the team trains in Florida during the spring.[9]

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. Hockey players who play in the CHL are ineligible for NCAA athletic scholarships, although many attend a CHL training camp. However, they can only stay a maximum of 48 hours and can not dress in any games.



Fall sports

Week 1 is the 9th Saturday following Labour Day Monday

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Winter sports

Week 1 is the 25th Saturday following Labour Day Monday

Week 1

  • U Sports men's swimming championship
  • U Sports women's swimming championship
  • U Sports men's wrestling championship
  • U Sports women's wrestling championship

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5


There are 56 member universities in U Sports.[11] These 56 member universities are currently organized into the four following regional associations. In some of these sports, these associations are sometimes referred to as conferences.

Institution Nickname City Province Founded Affiliation Enrollment Endowment Membership
Acadia University Axemen, Axewomen 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 $82.8M AUS
Université de Moncton Aigles Bleu 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, X-Women Antigonish NS 1853 Public 5150 $59.4M AUS
St. Thomas University Tommies Fredericton NB 1910 Public 2633 --- AUS
University of British Columbia Thunderbirds Vancouver 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/Pandas 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, 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[12] $1.66B OUA
Ryerson University Rams 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[13] [lower-alpha 1] OUA
Trent University Excalibur Peterborough ON 1964 Public 7160 $43M OUA
Nipissing University Lakers North Bay ON 1909 Public 6300 $11M OUA
University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks Oshawa ON 2003 Public 5000 --- 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[14] $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 McGill, Martlets Montreal QC 1821 Public 32,514 $1.32B RSEQ
Bishop's University Gaiters Lennoxville QC 1843 Public 2800 --- RSEQ[lower-alpha 2]
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-et-Or Sherbrooke QC 1954 Public 35,000 --- RSEQ
  1. Federal ethics rules prohibit RMC from maintaining an endowment.
  2. As of 2017, Bishop's plays football in AUS.


As of the 2018-2019 U Sports season, 47 of the 56 member institutions have both men's and women's basketball teams. In sports with heavy university participation, like basketball, some of the conferences have had divisions. The OUA previously had four divisions from 2014-15 to 2016-17, but reduced them back to two for the 2017-18 season.[15] Canada West had two divisions, but reverted to a one conference format for the 2016-17 season.[16]

The U Sports men's and women's basketball teams are organized in the following way:


27 of the 56 member schools will participate in the 2019 U Sports football season.

The U Sports football teams are organized in the following way:

As of the 2017–18 academic year, the two U Sports members in Sherbrooke compete in separate leagues in football only. Bishop's football moved from RSEQ to AUS, and Sherbrooke remains in RSEQ football.

Men's ice hockey

35 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2018-19 Men's Ice Hockey season.

Women's ice hockey

34 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2018-19 Women's Ice Hockey season.

Men's soccer

48 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2018 Men's Soccer season. U Sports has been a stepping stone for some national team players like Pat Onstad.

Women's soccer

53 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2018 Women's Soccer season.

Men's Volleyball

32 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2018-19 Men's Volleyball season. After Memorial disbanded their team, two teams compete in the AUS with three competing in the RSEQ, so those conferences play interlock games as has been the case since 2004.[17] 12 teams compete in Canada West and another 13 compete in the OUA, which is split between an East and a West division.

Women's Volleyball

39 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2018-19 Women's Volleyball season. Six teams compete in the AUS and six in the RSEQ. Another 14 compete in the OUA, split between an East and a West division. The Canada West conference is the only one to have matching women's and men's teams among its participating schools with 13 women's volleyball teams. St. Francis Xavier and Cape Breton previously had programs, but they were cut due to budgetary reasons in 2013 and 2015, respectively.[18][19]

See also

Notes and references

  1. "Introducing U Sports" (Press release). U Sports. October 20, 2016. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  2. Knowles 2000, p. 72.
  3. History of CIS Archived January 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. CIS English Archived March 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. English.cis-sic.ca (July 15, 2013). Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. CIS English Archived September 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. English.cis-sic.ca. Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
  8. Lancer Sports News. University of Windsor (website). "Lancer Football Introduces Touchdown Club" Archived February 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine accessed April 9, 2007
  9. CBC News. Laval's team was profiled during their training camp in Florida. Broadcast before Vanier Cup 2006.
  10. U Sports Championship Calendar
  11. https://usports.ca/hq/member-universities
  12. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. 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.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved April 24, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. 2017-18 OUA Men’s Basketball Schedule Released
  16. Canada West approves basketball format change beginning with 2016-17 season
  17. Dalhousie and UNB men’s volleyball teams to compete in two-team AUS league for 2017-18 transitional season
  18. St. FX ending women’s volleyball program to cut costs Archived March 8, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  19. CBU to discontinue women's volleyball program Archived March 8, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  • Knowles, Steve (2000), "Canadian University Hockey", in Diamond, Dan (ed.), Total Hockey (Second ed.), pp. 69–78, ISBN 1-892129-85-X
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