|Headquarters||Richmond Hill, Ontario|
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.
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.
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 based on a model where the league will give scholarships commensurate with the seasons they played in the CHL. 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
Week 1 is the 25th Saturday following Labour Day Monday
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.
|Acadia University||Axemen, Axewomen||Wolfville||NS||1838||Public||4650||$40M||AUS|
|Cape Breton University||Capers||Sydney||NS||2005||Public||3500||$6.1M||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|
|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|
|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|
|University of Ottawa||Gee-Gees||Ottawa||ON||1848||Public||35,548||$201M||OUA|
|University of Toronto||Varsity Blues||Toronto||ON||1827||Public||56,383||$1.66B||OUA|
|Queen's University||Golden Gaels||Kingston||ON||1841||Public||20,566||$722M||OUA|
|Algoma University||Thunderbirds||Sault Ste. Marie||ON||1964||Public||1427||---||OUA|
|Royal Military College of Canada||Paladins||Kingston||ON||1876||Public||900||[a]||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|
|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||$74M||OUA|
|Lakehead University||Thunderwolves||Thunder Bay||ON||1946||Public||8050||$32.1M||OUA|
|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, Martlets||Montreal||QC||1821||Public||32,514||$1.32B||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-et-Or||Sherbrooke||QC||1954||Public||35,000||---||RSEQ|
As of the 2019-2020 U Sports season, 48 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. With the addition of Ontario Tech for the 2019-20 season, OUA moved to three six-team divisions. Canada West had two divisions, but reverted to a one conference format for the 2016-17 season with 17 teams. The AUS conference has eight teams while the RSEQ conference has five.
The U Sports men's and women's basketball teams are organized in the following way:
27 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2019 U Sports football season. 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.
35 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2019-20 Men's Ice Hockey season.
34 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2019-20 Women's Ice Hockey season. The Bishop's Gaiters will join the RSEQ and start play in 2020-21 and the Trinity Western Spartans and MacEwan Griffins will join Canada West.
48 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2019 Men's soccer season.
53 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2019 Women's soccer season.
30 of the 56 member schools participated in the 2019-20 Men's volleyball season. After Memorial disbanded their team following the 2016-17 season, two teams competed in the AUS with three competing in the RSEQ, before Dalhousie and UNB moved to the RSEQ with the AUS dropping men's volleyball as a varsity sport. 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 2019-20 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, and the Canada West conference has 13 women's volleyball teams.