CIS football
Current season or competition:
Sports current event.svg.png 2011 CIS football season
Canadian football positions
FormerlyCIAU football
SportCanadian football
No. of teams26, in four conferences
Most recent champion(s)Laval Rouge et Or
Most titlesLaval Rouge et Or (6)
Western Ontario Mustangs (6)
TV partner(s)The Score Television Network/TSNInvalid language code.
Télévision de Radio-CanadaInvalid language code./SHAW TV
Official websiteCIS football
Related competitionsVanier Cup

Twenty-six universities across Canada compete in football under the auspices of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). The teams are divided into four conferences, drawing from the four regional associations of the CIS: Canada West Universities Athletic Association, Ontario University Athletics, Quebec Student Sports Federation, and Atlantic University Sport. At the end of every season, the champions of each conference advance to semifinal bowl games; the winners of these meet in the Vanier Cup national championship.

In 2010, Waterloo University suspended its CIS football team because they had a drug test failed by 5 out of 62 players. The CIS reorganized the calendar of the OUA with 9 teams instead of 10. The program has been reinstated for the 2011 season.

CIS football is the highest level of amateur play in Canadian football. The origins of North American football lie here. The first documented game was played at University College at the University of Toronto in 1861. A number of CIS programs have been in existence since the origins of the sport. It is from these Canadian universities that the game we now know as Canadian football, and its offshoot, American football, sprang. In 1874, McGill University (Montreal, Quebec) challenged Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) to a series of games. American football traces its roots to this varsity play.

The Grey Cup, the championship trophy of the professional Canadian Football League since its founding in the 1950s, was originally contested by teams from the University of Toronto and Queen's University and other amateur teams in the early 1900s.

Many CIS players have gone on to professional careers in the Canadian Football League and elsewhere; a number are drafted annually in the Canadian College Draft. In 2007, there were a record 120 CIS alumni on Canadian Football League rosters.[1]

Season structureEdit

Regular seasonEdit

The regular season is eight weeks long and usually opens on the Labour Day weekend. Regular season games are in-conference with the exception of limited interlocking play between the Quebec and Atlantic conferences. There are featured homecoming and rivalry games in most regions. The Hec Crighton Trophy is awarded annually to the MVP of the CIS.


After the regular season, single elimination playoff games are held between the top teams in each conference to determine conference champions. In the Canada West and Quebec conferences, the top four teams qualify for the playoffs, while in the Atlantic conference the top three teams qualify, and in Ontario the top six teams qualify. Each conference has its own championship trophy; the Hardy Trophy in the West, the Yates Cup in Ontario, the Dunsmore Cup in Quebec and the Jewett Trophy in the Atlantic conference. The conference champions proceed to national semifinal bowl games: the Mitchell Bowl and the Uteck Bowl. The participant conferences of each bowl are determined several years in advance on a rotating basis.

Vanier CupEdit

The winners of each bowl game meet in the Vanier Cup national championship, first established in 1965 and named in honour of Governor General Georges Vanier. The game was held in Toronto every year through 2003 when host conference bids were first accepted, yielding a move to Hamilton for 2004 and 2005, followed by Saskatoon in 2006. In 2007, the game returned to Toronto, along with the Grey Cup, which was hosted there for the first time since 1992. The Vanier Cup game moved back to Hamilton in 2008 before heading to Quebec City for the 2009 and 2010 games. The 2011 Vanier Cup will be played in the newly renovated BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The next few yearsEdit

There have recently been efforts at establishing new varsity football programs at institutions that currently do not have teams. A group of alumni from Carleton University in Ottawa have successfully revived that school's program that is now scheduled to return in 2013. The team will be a member of the Ontario University Athletics conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, returning football to Carleton University after a 15-year absence.[2]

Because the AUS is the smallest conference in the CIS, there has been talk of adding more teams there, as well. There has been interest expressed in starting a team at the Université de Moncton, due to the recent construction of Moncton stadium.[3] As of May of 2011, the athletics department has submitted a feasibility report to the school's president and are going to base a large part of their decision upon how the Uteck Bowl in 2011 is received by the fans in Moncton.[4] Additionally, a club team league, the Atlantic Football League, features five universities in what some hope will lead to varsity teams featured at some of these schools.[5][6]


Canada West Football Conference
Hardy Trophy
Institution Team City Province First season Affiliation Enrollment Endowment Football stadium Capacity
University of British Columbia Thunderbirds Vancouver BC 1923 Public 43,579 $1.01B Thunderbird Stadium 3,500
University of Calgary Dinos Calgary AB 1964 Public 28,196 $444M McMahon Stadium 35,650
University of Alberta Golden Bears Edmonton AB 1910 Public 36,435 $751M Foote Field 3,500
University of Saskatchewan Huskies Saskatoon SK 1912 Public 19,082 $136.7M Griffiths Stadium 4,997
University of Regina Rams Regina SK 1999 Public 12,800 $25.9M Mosaic Stadium 28,800
University of Manitoba Bisons Winnipeg MB 1920 Public 27,599 $303M University Stadium 5,000
Ontario University Athletics
Yates Cup
Institution Team City Province First season Affiliation Enrollment Endowment Football stadium Capacity
University of Windsor Lancers Windsor ON 1968 Public 13,496 $32.5M South Campus Stadium 2,000
University of Western Ontario Mustangs London ON 1929 Public 30,000 $266.6M TD Waterhouse Stadium 10,000
University of Waterloo Warriors Waterloo ON 1957 Public 27,978 $172M Warrior Field 1,100
Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks Waterloo ON 1961 Public 12,394 --- University Stadium 6,000
University of Guelph Gryphons Guelph ON 1950 Public 19,408 $164.2M Alumni Stadium 5,100
McMaster University Marauders Hamilton ON 1901 Public 25,688 $498.5M Ron Joyce Stadium 6,000
University of Toronto Varsity Blues Toronto ON 1877 Public 73,185 $1.823B Varsity Stadium 5,000
York University Lions Toronto ON 1969 Public 42,400 $306M York Stadium 2,500
Queen's University Golden Gaels Kingston ON 1882 Public 20,566 $657M Richardson Stadium 10,258
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Ottawa ON 1894 Public 35,548 $128.4M Frank Clair Stadium 14,542 [1]
Quebec University Football League
Dunsmore Cup
Institution Team City Province First season Affiliation Enrollment Endowment Football stadium Capacity
Concordia University Stingers Montreal QC 1974 Public 38,809 $54.4M Concordia Stadium 4,000
Université de Montréal Carabins Montreal QC 2002 Public 55,540 $89.5M CEPSUM Stadium 5,100
McGill University Redmen Montreal QC 1898 Public 32,514 $973.6M Molson Stadium 25,012
Université Laval Rouge et Or Quebec City QC 1996 Public 37,591 $105.3M PEPS Stadium 12,257
Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or Sherbrooke QC 1971 Public 35,000 --- University of Sherbrooke Stadium 8,000
Bishop's University Gaiters Sherbrooke QC 1884 Public 1,817 --- Coulter Field 3,000
Atlantic University Football Conference
Jewett Trophy
Institution Team City Province First season Affiliation Enrollment Endowment Football stadium Capacity
Acadia University Axemen Wolfville NS 1957 Public 3,770 $40M Raymond Field 3,000
Mount Allison University Mounties Sackville NB 1955 Public 2,614 $82.8M MacAulay Field 2,500
Saint Francis Xavier University X-Men Antigonish NS 1954 Public 4,871 $59.4M Oland Stadium 4,000
Saint Mary's University Huskies Halifax NS 1956 Public 7,433 $16.9M Huskies Stadium 4,000

Awards and the annual All-Canadian TeamEdit

There are post-season awards for on-the-field excellence. The players deemed to be the best at each position are named to the annual All-Canadian Football Team as first or second team players.

Additionally there are a number of individual awards for categories like "best defensive player".

CIS football players in the professional leagues Edit

As of 2009, there were 111 CIS football players on the rosters of Canadian Football League teams. [2]

As of 2010, the CIS had produced 25 players who have earned a spot on an NFL roster (including three who did not play a regular season game; players listed in chronological order by entry year in NFL):

1945 Joe Krol, Western Ontario, K/RB.
1947 Les Lear, Manitoba, OG/OT.
1960 Bill Crawford, UBC, OG.
1965 Jim Young, Queen's, RB/R.
1976 Brian Fryer, Alberta, R.
1979 Ken Clark, Saint Mary's, P.
1986 Mike Schad, Queen's, OG.
1987 Brian Belway, Calgary, DE.
1987 Dave Sparenberg, Western Ontario, OG.
1987 Brant Bengen, UBC and Idaho, WR.
1988 Dean Dorsey, Toronto, K.
1992 Tyrone Williams, Western Ontario, WR.
1995 Tim Tindale, Western Ontario, RB.
1995 Mark Montreuil, Concordia, CB.
1995 Mark Hatfield, Bishop's, OL.
1996 Grayson Shillingford, UBC, SB.
1998 Jerome Pathon, Acadia & U. of Washington, R.
2001 Randy Chevrier, McGill, LS/DE.
2000 J. P. Darche, McGill, LS/LB.
2003 Israel Idonije, Manitoba, DL.
2004 Steve Morley, Saint Mary's, OG/OT.
2006 Daniel Federkeil, Calgary, DE.
2006 Jon Ryan, Regina, K.
2009 Vaughn Martin, Western Ontario, DL.
2010 Cory Greenwood, Concordia, LB.

NFL DraftEdit

In the 2009 NFL draft, the San Diego Chargers selected defensive lineman Vaughn Martin from Western Ontario in the fourth round. Martin became the first CIS underclassmen to be selected in the NFL draft.

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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