Canada West Universities Athletic Association

Canada West Universities Athletic Association

The Canada West Universities Athletic Association is a regional association of Canadian university athletic programs, similar to what would be called a "college athletic conference" in the United States. The association, which covers Western Canada, is one of four such bodies that are members of the country's governing body for university athletics, Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS; formerly CIAU, for Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union).

It was founded as the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WIAA) in 1920, but regular competition between schools at the time were often unfeasible due to the high costs of travel and existing rivalries with American colleges.

In 1971, the WIAA was split into the Canada West Universities Athletic Association and the Great Plains Athletic Association, the latter consisting of schools primarily from Manitoba. In 1988, the GPAA (also known as the GPAC or Great Plains Athletic Conference) was absorbed into Canada West.

In 2006, the University College of the Fraser Valley, based in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, BC started competition in the conference.

In 2005, Thompson Rivers University, based in Kamloops, BC began competition in the conference.

Future Expansion

There are institutions who are building their athletic programs for potential admission into the association.

The University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, BC, The University of British Columbia-Okanagan in Kelowna, BC and Malaspina University-College in Nanaimo, BC have all discussed some sort of intention or aspiration for inclusion, which has been reported in the media.

Scholarships, Simon Fraser University, and the NAIA

Simon Fraser (previously known as the SFU Clan) did not compete in CIAU/CIS until 2002, after a failed attempt to join the U.S. NCAA.

From its inception in 1965, Simon Fraser competed in the NAIA to allow "full ride" scholarships. Canadian Schools did not allow any form of scholarships until the late-1980s. SFU was forced to leave the NAIA in many sports due to schools in the Northwest US shifting to the NCAA. The NCAA limits membership to schools based in the U.S.. Some Simon Fraser teams still compete in the U.S., and their men's wrestling program competes in both organizations.

UBC also has their men's baseball program compete in the NAIA.

Member schools

* Brandon Bobcats (Brandon University)
* Alberta Golden Bears, Alberta Pandas (University of Alberta)
* UBC Thunderbirds (University of British Columbia)
* Calgary Dinos (University of Calgary)
* Fraser Valley Cascades (University of the Fraser Valley)
* Lethbridge Pronghorns (University of Lethbridge)
* Manitoba Bisons (University of Manitoba)
* Regina Rams (football only), Regina Cougars (University of Regina)
* Saskatchewan Huskies (University of Saskatchewan)
* Simon Fraser Clan (Simon Fraser University)
* Thompson Rivers WolfPack (Thompson Rivers University)
* Trinity Western Spartans (Trinity Western University)
* Victoria Vikes (University of Victoria)
* Winnipeg Wesmen (University of Winnipeg)

In May 2005, UBC made a formal bid to join the NCAA. The NCAA has not yet made a decision on whether to admit UBC. See the UBC article for more details.

External links

* [ Canada West webpage]
* [ CIS homepage]

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