Canadian Interuniversity Sport football

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Canadian Interuniversity Sport football
Current season, competition or edition:
2013 CIS football season
CIS Logo.svg
FormerlyCIAU football
SportCanadian football
No. of teams27, in four conferences
Most recent champion(s)Laval Rouge et Or
Most titlesLaval Rouge et Or (7)
TV partner(s)Sportsnet/The Score Television Network/Shaw TV(English)
Télévision de Radio-Canada(French)
Related competitionsVanier Cup
Official websiteCIS football
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Not to be confused with CIS national football team, CIS (rugby), or CIS Soccer.
Canadian Interuniversity Sport football
Current season, competition or edition:
2013 CIS football season
CIS Logo.svg
FormerlyCIAU football
SportCanadian football
No. of teams27, in four conferences
Most recent champion(s)Laval Rouge et Or
Most titlesLaval Rouge et Or (7)
TV partner(s)Sportsnet/The Score Television Network/Shaw TV(English)
Télévision de Radio-Canada(French)
Related competitionsVanier Cup
Official websiteCIS football

Canadian Interuniversity Sport football is the highest level of amateur play of Canadian football and operates under the auspices of the CIS. Twenty-seven teams from Canadian universities are divided into four athletic conferences, drawing from the four regional associations of the CIS: Canada West Universities Athletic Association, Ontario University Athletics, Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (Quebec Student Sports Network), 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.

The origins of North American football can be traced here, where 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 began. In 1874, McGill University (Montreal) challenged Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts) to a series of games.

The Grey Cup, the championship trophy of the professional Canadian Football League (CFL) since its founding in the 1950s, was originally contested by teams from the University of Toronto and Queen's University and other amateur teams since 1909. Many CIS players have gone on to professional careers in the CFL and elsewhere; a number are drafted annually in the Canadian College Draft. In 2012, there were a record 145 CIS alumni on CFL rosters.[1]

Season structure[edit]

Regular season[edit]

The Calgary Dinos playing against the Alberta Golden Bears in 2006.

The regular season is eight to nine weeks long, depending on the conference, and, as of 2013, opens one week before the Labour Day weekend. Teams play eight regular season games and regular season games are in-conference with the exception of limited interlocking play between the Quebec and Atlantic conferences. Throughout the season, there are featured homecoming and rivalry games in most regions. Following the conclusion of the regular season, 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. In Ontario, the top six teams qualify with the top two teams receiving playoff byes to the next round. Because the OUA teams have conference playoffs that last three weeks instead of two, the first round of the post-season in the OUA occurs during the same week that each of the other three conferences are playing their last regular season games. 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.

The Laval Rouge et Or on offense against the McMaster Marauders in the second quarter of the 47th Vanier Cup.

Vanier Cup[edit]

Main article: Vanier Cup

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 was played in the newly renovated BC Place in Vancouver.

The next few years[edit]

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 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 four universities in what some hope will lead to varsity teams featured at some of these schools.[5][6]

Following their successful application to become full-members of the Canada West Universities Athletic Association, the UBC Okanagan Heat are investigating the feasibility of starting their own football program, likely to be partnered with the existing CJFL's Okanagan Sun.[7] UBCO are now permitted to apply for new varsity teams within Canada West and would host the Sun in much the same way that the University of Regina was paired with the Prairie Football Conference's Regina Rams. If UBCO submits a formal proposal for a football program, they would need five of the six existing programs to approve the move and the earliest they would begin play would be 2016.[8]


Canada West Football Conference
Hardy Trophy
InstitutionTeamCityProvinceFirst seasonHead coachEnrollmentEndowmentFootball stadiumCapacityHardy TrophiesVanier Cups
University of British ColumbiaThunderbirdsVancouverBC1923Shawn Olson43,579$1.01BThunderbird Stadium3,500133
University of CalgaryDinosCalgaryAB1964Blake Nill28,196$444MMcMahon Stadium35,650154
University of AlbertaGolden BearsEdmontonAB1910Chris Morris36,435$751MFoote Field3,500183
University of SaskatchewanHuskiesSaskatoonSK1912Brian Towriss19,082$136.7MGriffiths Stadium6,171203
University of ReginaRamsReginaSK1999Frank McCrystal12,800$25.9MMosaic Stadium32,84810
University of ManitobaBisonsWinnipegMB1920Brian Dobie27,599$303MInvestors Group Field33,422103
Ontario University Athletics
Yates Cup
InstitutionTeamCityProvinceFirst seasonHead coachEnrollmentEndowmentFootball stadiumCapacityYates CupsVanier Cups
University of WindsorLancersWindsorON1968Joe D'Amore13,496$32.5MSouth Campus Stadium2,00010
University of Western OntarioMustangsLondonON1929Greg Marshall30,000$266.6MTD Waterhouse Stadium10,000306
University of WaterlooWarriorsWaterlooON1957Marshall Bingeman27,978$172MWarrior Field5,20020
Wilfrid Laurier UniversityGolden HawksWaterlooON1961Michael Faulds12,394---University Stadium6,00072
University of GuelphGryphonsGuelphON1950Stu Lang19,408$164.2MAlumni Stadium4,10031
McMaster UniversityMaraudersHamiltonON1901Stefan Ptaszek25,688$498.5MRon Joyce Stadium6,00061
University of TorontoVarsity BluesTorontoON1877Greg Gary73,185$1.823BVarsity Stadium5,000252
York UniversityLionsTorontoON1969Warren Craney42,400$306MYork Stadium2,50000
Queen's UniversityGolden GaelsKingstonON1882Pat Sheahan20,566$657MRichardson Stadium10,258234
University of OttawaGee-GeesOttawaON1894Jamie Barresi35,548$128.4MGee-Gees Field4,15242
Carleton UniversityRavensOttawaON1945Steve Sumarah25,890$230MKeith Harris Stadium3,00000
Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec
Dunsmore Cup
InstitutionTeamCityProvinceFirst seasonHead coachEnrollmentEndowmentFootball stadiumCapacityDunsmore CupsVanier Cups
Concordia UniversityStingersMontrealQC1974Gerry McGrath38,809$54.4MConcordia Stadium4,00030
Université de MontréalCarabinsMontrealQC2002Danny Maciocia55,540$89.5MCEPSUM Stadium5,10000
McGill UniversityRedmenMontrealQC1898Clint Uttley32,514$973.6MMolson Stadium25,01231
Université LavalRouge et OrQuebec CityQC1996Glen Constantin37,591$105.3MPEPS Stadium12,257128
Université de SherbrookeVert et OrSherbrookeQC1971David Lessard35,000---Université de Sherbrooke Stadium3,35900
Bishop's UniversityGaitersSherbrookeQC1884Kevin Mackey1,817---Coulter Field2,20040
Atlantic University Football Conference
Jewett Trophy
InstitutionTeamCityProvinceFirst seasonHead coachEnrollmentEndowmentFootball stadiumCapacityJewett TrophiesVanier Cups
Acadia UniversityAxemenWolfvilleNS1957Jeff Cummins3,770$40MRaymond Field3,000122
Mount Allison UniversityMountiesSackvilleNB1955Kelly Jeffrey2,614$82.8MMacAulay Field2,50050
Saint Francis Xavier UniversityX-MenAntigonishNS1954Gary Waterman4,871$59.4MOland Stadium4,000101
Saint Mary's UniversityHuskiesHalifaxNS1956Perry Marchese7,433$16.9MHuskies Stadium4,000243

Awards and the annual All-Canadian Team[edit]

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]

Opening Day of the 2012 CFL season saw 145 CIS football players on rosters around the League.[9]

As of 2009, there were 111 CIS football players on the rosters of Canadian Football League teams. [1]

As of 2012, the CIS had produced 29 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.
2008 Sam Giguere Sherbrooke, WR
2009 Vaughn Martin, Western Ontario, DL.
2010 Cory Greenwood, Concordia, LB
2010 Joel Reinders Waterloo, OT
2011 Matt O'Donnell Queen's OT
2012 Akiem Hicks Regina, DT

NFL Draft[edit]

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 underclassman to be selected in the NFL draft.

In the 2012 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected defensive lineman Akiem Hicks from Regina in the third round, 89th overall.

CFL Draft[edit]

The following is a list of recent numbers from the CFL Draft, which is an annual seven round event with a current maximum of 60 players drafted (63 in 2014). The high-water mark of 44 players from the CIS drafted was recorded in the 2013 CFL Draft, which was the most since 1987.

44 CIS players drafted in the 2013 draft
24 CIS players drafted in the 2012 draft
34 CIS players drafted in the 2011 draft
36 CIS players drafted in the 2010 draft
38 CIS players drafted in the 2009 draft
33 CIS players drafted in the 2008 draft
31 CIS players drafted in the 2007 draft
26 CIS players drafted in the 2006 draft

See also[edit]


External links[edit]