What is the purpose of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and varsity university athletics in the greater landscape of the Canadian sport system? As a former CIS athlete and coach, I have had this discussion numerous times with athletes, coaches, administrators, professors, and university students. Is the purpose to produce high performance athletes that will represent the country and/or go on to play professionally? Is it to enhance the experience of university students (student-athletes, but just as importantly the general student population)?
Curiously, the official purpose as outlined in the CIS Strategic Plan is to ‘lead, promote, and celebrate excellence in sport and academics’