The Canadian Interuniversity Sport's name in French is Sport interuniversitaire canadien (SIC).
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 CIAU changed 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.
The CIS 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 CIS athletes was receiving an athletic scholarship.
Increasingly, CIS 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. The CIS 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 the last 4 of 8 Vanier Cups, is so successful 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 CIS school after graduating from major junior hockey. Hockey players who play in the CHL are ineligible for NCAAathletic scholarships, although many attend a CHL training camp. However, they can only stay a max of 48 hours and can not dress in any games.