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.
|Headquarters||Richmond Hill, Ontario|
Its name until October 20, 2016, was Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS; French: Sport interuniversitaire canadien, SIC). 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. 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. 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." 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.
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.
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".
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.
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, 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.
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.
Week 1 is the 9th Saturday following Labour Day Monday
- U Sports women's field hockey championship
- U Sports women's rugby championship
Week 1 is the 25th Saturday following Labour Day Monday
- U Sports men's swimming championship
- U Sports women's swimming championship
- U Sports men's wrestling championship
- U Sports women's wrestling championship
There are 56 member universities in U Sports. 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.
- Atlantic University Sport (AUS)
- Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CW)
- Ontario University Athletics (OUA)
- Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ)
- Federal ethics rules prohibit RMC from maintaining an endowment.
- 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. Canada West had two divisions, but reverted to a one conference format for the 2016-17 season.
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.
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.
53 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2018 Women's Soccer season.
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. 12 teams compete in Canada West and another 13 compete in the OUA, which is split between an East and a West division.
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.
- National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the American equivalent of U Sports.
- List of colleges in Canada
- List of universities in Canada
- Athletics Canada
- Canada Basketball
- College basketball
- Canadian Soccer Association
- U Sports men's soccer
- U Sports women's soccer
- College soccer
- Football Canada
- U Sports football
- College football
- Hockey Canada
- U Sports women's ice hockey
- College hockey
- Royal Canadian Golf Association
- Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association
- International University Sports Federation
Notes and references
- "Introducing U Sports" (Press release). U Sports. October 20, 2016. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
- Knowles 2000, p. 72.
- History of CIS Archived January 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- CIS English Archived March 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. English.cis-sic.ca (July 15, 2013). Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved September 17, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- CIS English Archived September 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. English.cis-sic.ca. Retrieved on July 24, 2013.
- Lancer Sports News. University of Windsor (website). "Lancer Football Introduces Touchdown Club" Archived February 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine accessed April 9, 2007
- CBC News. Laval's team was profiled during their training camp in Florida. Broadcast before Vanier Cup 2006.
- U Sports Championship Calendar
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- 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.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved April 24, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- 2017-18 OUA Men’s Basketball Schedule Released
- Canada West approves basketball format change beginning with 2016-17 season
- Dalhousie and UNB men’s volleyball teams to compete in two-team AUS league for 2017-18 transitional season
- St. FX ending women’s volleyball program to cut costs Archived March 8, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
- 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