Canadian Interuniversity Sport football
|Current season, competition or edition:
2014 CIS football season
|No. of teams||27, in four conferences|
|Most recent champion(s)||Laval Rouge et Or|
|Most titles||Laval Rouge et Or (7)|
|TV partner(s)||Sportsnet/The Score Television Network/Shaw TV(English)
Télévision de Radio-Canada(French)
|Related competitions||Vanier Cup|
|Official website||CIS 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.
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 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
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
|Institution||Team||City||Province||First season||Head coach||Enrollment||Endowment||Football stadium||Capacity||Hardy Trophies||Vanier Cups|
|University of British Columbia||Thunderbirds||Vancouver||BC||1923||Shawn Olson||43,579||$1.01B||Thunderbird Stadium||3,500||13||3|
|University of Calgary||Dinos||Calgary||AB||1964||Blake Nill||28,196||$444M||McMahon Stadium||35,650||15||4|
|University of Alberta||Golden Bears||Edmonton||AB||1910||Chris Morris||36,435||$751M||Foote Field||3,500||18||3|
|University of Saskatchewan||Huskies||Saskatoon||SK||1912||Brian Towriss||19,082||$136.7M||Griffiths Stadium||6,171||20||3|
|University of Regina||Rams||Regina||SK||1999||Frank McCrystal||12,800||$25.9M||Mosaic Stadium||32,848||1||0|
|University of Manitoba||Bisons||Winnipeg||MB||1920||Brian Dobie||27,599||$303M||Investors Group Field||33,422||10||3|
|Institution||Team||City||Province||First season||Head coach||Enrollment||Endowment||Football stadium||Capacity||Dunsmore Cups||Vanier Cups|
|Concordia University||Stingers||Montreal||QC||1974||Gerry McGrath||38,809||$54.4M||Concordia Stadium||4,000||3||0|
|Université de Montréal||Carabins||Montreal||QC||2002||Danny Maciocia||55,540||$89.5M||CEPSUM Stadium||5,100||0||0|
|McGill University||Redmen||Montreal||QC||1898||Clint Uttley||32,514||$973.6M||Molson Stadium||25,012||3||1|
|Université Laval||Rouge et Or||Quebec City||QC||1996||Glen Constantin||37,591||$105.3M||PEPS Stadium||12,257||12||8|
|Université de Sherbrooke||Vert et Or||Sherbrooke||QC||1971||David Lessard||35,000||---||Université de Sherbrooke Stadium||3,359||0||0|
|Bishop's University||Gaiters||Sherbrooke||QC||1884||Kevin Mackey||1,817||---||Coulter Field||2,200||4||0|
|Institution||Team||City||Province||First season||Head coach||Enrollment||Endowment||Football stadium||Capacity||Jewett Trophies||Vanier Cups|
|Acadia University||Axemen||Wolfville||NS||1957||Jeff Cummins||3,770||$40M||Raymond Field||3,000||12||2|
|Mount Allison University||Mounties||Sackville||NB||1955||Kelly Jeffrey||2,614||$82.8M||MacAulay Field||2,500||5||0|
|Saint Francis Xavier University||X-Men||Antigonish||NS||1954||Gary Waterman||4,871||$59.4M||Oland Stadium||4,000||10||1|
|Saint Mary's University||Huskies||Halifax||NS||1956||Perry Marchese||7,433||$16.9M||Huskies Stadium||4,000||24||3|
Awards and the annual All-Canadian Team
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
Opening Day of the 2012 CFL season saw 145 CIS football players on rosters around the League.
As of 2014, the CIS had produced 30 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
2014 Henoc Muamba St.FX, LB
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.
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
- Canadian Junior Football League, Quebec Junior Football League
- Football Canada
- Canadian Football
- Canadian Football League
- College Football
- Canadian Interuniversity Sport
- Canadian Colleges Athletic Association
- Comparison of Canadian and American football
- List of Canadian Football stadia by capacity
- 145 CIS grads on 2012 CFL rosters
- http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Carleton+football+veteran+celebrates+team+revival/5060825/story.html Carleton football veteran celebrates team’s revival
- http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/07/26/nb-iaaf-games-moncton-legacy-610.html University ponders legacy after IAAF games
- http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/sports/article/1402895 U de M continues to study viability of university football
- http://dalnews.dal.ca/2010/03/22/football.html Pigskin promise
- UBC Okanagan makes the grade with Canada West
- UBC Okanagan and Okanagan Sun eye up football partnership